Graduates 350 WYEP To Mitigate The Shortfall
With a population of over 20 million and an estimated net migration rate of 123,000 people daily, Lagos State is a uniquely high-pressured state, especially in the area of food.
Despite its relatively small land mass and some geographical limitations, it accounts for over 60 per cent of industrial and commercial activities of the county.
One of the areas the state is experiencing challenges is that of food production, which has become a critical sector to be addressed.
Currently, the state is experiencing deficit of 188 Metric Tonnes (mt) of broilers, 6.7mt of eggs and 218mt of aquaculture supply daily to attain food security.
The introduction of the Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement And Livelihood Support (APPEALS) Project appears to be the game-changer, to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and transform the sector in the state.
The APPEALS project, implemented through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in six participating states of Cross River, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi and Lagos, is a six-year project expected to run between 2017 and 2023.
The basic strategy of the project is to increase productivity, production and improve processing and marketing of the targeted value chain, which are expected to foster job creation along value chains. The value chains to be supported by APPEALS in the state are aquaculture, poultry and rice.
The project has commenced the process of raising over 1,600 Agro Entrepreneurs within the next two years, through its Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) scheme.
Just last week, it graduated its Batch 1—a total of 350 people -165 on poultry value chain, 150 on aquaculture and 35 on rice, after a two-week intensive residency-training programme, held simultaneously in Lagos and Ogun States for beneficiaries of different value chains.
The WYEP consists of provision of Technical Assistance in business planning, grants to finance sub-projects and mentorship for start-up or consolidation of existing women and youth led businesses, as individual or a group of beneficiaries.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, represented by Chairman, Epe Local Government, Mr. Adedoyin Adesanya, at the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe, who said the project was aimed at supporting farmers’ productivity, added that it was also their linkage to market with a vision to assisting 10,000 direct beneficiaries with anticipated 35 per cent women beneficiaries.
“I implore you all to access the grant element of the project by developing viable investment plans that will not just make you agro-prenuers but also employers of labour…Gone are the days of our fore fathers when agriculture depended solely on cutlasses, hoes and nature.
“Today’s agriculture now uses sophisticated technologies such as indoor vertical farming, automation, precision agriculture, greenhouse practices, block chair in marketing, artificial intelligence, GPS technology and a host of others. These are technologies, which in turn, will allow businesses to be more efficient, safer, environmentally friendly, competitive and profitable with the aim of productivity enhancement. As little as our land is, we want to produce significantly more crops per acre, improve quantity and quality of produce, mitigate against risks and secure the environment,” he said.
Hamzat also said the state government would always contribute its quota to all donor /World Bank Assisted Projects through regular payments of its counterpart contributions.
The State Project Coordinator, APPEALS project, Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo sounded confident that the beneficiaries would soon become major contributors in the food production and supply chains in Lagos.
Sagoe-Oviebo said the beneficiaries have assured her that their business plans would be ready this week, assuring that the project is not just going to impact the lives of the 350 beneficiaries, but will have multiplier effect with lots of job creation and livelihood improvement.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, said the graduation signalled the beginning of a new concept to the APPEALS project’s implementation.
Lawal said one of the primary objectives of the APPEALS project was employment generation, which, according to him, is in tandem with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s vision of providing employment for the teeming youth of the state, in line with the administration’s THEMES agenda.