Still basking in the euphoria of the success recorded in 2020, the Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project has promised to establish 1,465 businesses for Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) and the People with Disabilities and Special Needs (PWDSN) across the state this year.
The State Project Coordinator (SPC), Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, who disclosed this during a presentation of the APPEALS Project Major Achievements in 2020, in Lagos, said the project would also provide physical support to about 3,000 small and medium scale farmers directly and over 12,000 others indirectly through its infrastructure support, job creation and training, among others.
In addition, she said 13.16km farm access roads would be constructed to enhance linkage to markets, reduce travel time, adding that it will also embark on “desilting of canal in five locations across the state, to reduce fish losses to enhance productivity in the sector. 20 solar powered market kiosks will be supported and energy intervention in two different locations will be carried out.”
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.
She noted that in 2020, no fewer than 879 farmers and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) across poultry, aquaculture and rice value chains directly benefited from the project in the last three years.
According to her, the beneficiaries have been empowered with physical inputs and equipment to help them improve their productivity in the stipulated value chains, adding that another set of 3,516 stakeholders also benefitted indirectly, while over 8,500 farmers received trainings and demonstrations with strong evidence of positive effect on Php Data Objectives (PDO).
Sagoe-Oviebo, while appraising the projects activities in 2020, said that the pandemic, although slowed down, did not affect the delivery of its mandate to farmers in targeting export and nutrition sensitive technology.
“Currently, we have 10, 000 direct beneficiaries; 60,000 indirect beneficiaries; identified and verified 9,942 farmers across the three value chains (rice, poultry and aquaculture). 1,700 of green hands farmers; 3,601 farmers in aquaculture, 2,866 in poultry and 1,689 for rice value chains, while 8,156 existing farmers have been verified.
“15 demonstrations were carried out in 2020 bringing the total to 23 from inception till date, representing over a 100 per cent achievement from the projects target of 17 per state,” Sagoe-Oviebo said.
She highlighted that the projects had received 71 no objections from the World Bank, saying: “71 numbers were received under the matching grants valued at N912.98m with IDA cost of N746.86m, once under rice out-growers scheme presently ongoing.
“Activities under the project collaboration with research institutes and other project implementations were greatly affected by the crisis of COVID-19 and the unrest of EndSARS.”