The Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration of Lagos State Government has ensured inhabitants within the state about their plans to make use of the Agro-processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project to enhance productivity, processing and marketing of agric value chain.
This information was revealed by Oluwatoyin Suarau, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, during an interview at the APPEALS Project Advocacy/Interactive Session held in Lagos, at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja.
Saura commented on the goals and vision of the organisation as he stated that APPEALS is a comprehensive six-year World Bank Assisted project which was initiated with the mindset of facilitating production and cottage processing and rendering support to farmers and their linkage to markets. However, the previously mentioned goals of the organisation are just the primary aims as they also hope to encourage farmers and small and medium business owners clustering and to implement needed infrastructure network and business services.
Oluranti Oviebo, who holds the post of the State Project Coordinator spoke convincingly that the project is supporting the value chains of aquaculture, poultry and rice. Futher stressing about the merits of the programme to the farmers, she claimed that project direct beneficiaries for the state is currently experiencing an increase in number with an impressive estimate of 10,000 and 50,000 farm household members as direct beneficiaries within the state.
“It is anticipated that 35 per cent of direct beneficiaries, (or 3,500 individuals) will be women. By design, the project has a dedicated sub-component to benefit women and youth that will allow them to develop agri-businesses that are expected to create jobs and improve their livelihoods.”
Though the Commissioner for Agriculture was not physically present at the session, he was well represented by Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya who is the Permanent Secretary of the ministry who confidently predicted that agriculture will help the state to be 21st century economy and also promised that the state will continue to contribute its quota to the development of the sector.
“In order to achieve agricultural sustainability, the state government has been supporting Public-Private Partnership approach, hence the need for all of us to work together as partners in progress to achieve the project’s objective, ” he said.
However, the main goals of APPEALS is aimed towards improving access to seed capital through grants; support to productivity enhancement through introduction of new technologies and agricultural inputs; improving access to infrastructure by supporting investment; building capacity of producer cooperatives through training and Technical Assistance, (especially for targeted women and youth groups), facilitating market linkage throughout the growers scheme; facilitating on-farm value addition by targeting limited number of value chains, and linking farmer to the supply chain.
It is also worthy of note that APPEALS is presently touching all spectrum of the country as it can be seen through active implementations in six states across regions of the nation (Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Enugu and Cross Rivers).