By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Lagos, Jan. 21, 2021 The Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project says it will establish 1,465 businesses for women, youths, among others in 2021.
Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, the State Project Coordinator (SPC), made this known at a presentation of the APPEALS Project Major Achievements in 2020 on Thursday in Lagos.
APPEALS is a World Bank, Federal Government and Lagos State tripartite partnership for small scale farmers to access grants in form of inputs in three value chains (rice, poultry and aquaculture).
Sagoe-Oviebo said that the businesses would be established for the Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) and the People with Disabilities and Special Needs (PWDSN) across the state.
She said that the project would continue to build on the successes recorded in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and as well contribute to the Lagos State Government THEMES agenda.
“The project will be giving physical support to about three thousand small and medium scale farmers directly and over 12, 000 indirectly through our infrastructure support, jobs creation, trainings, among others.
“Step down the technologies demonstrated; 13.16 kilometres farm access roads rehabilitation will commence this year to enhance linkage to markets.
The 1,465 businesses for the WYEP and the PWDSN will be established and their livelihoods improved through physical improved assets supports.
“Desilting of canals in five locations across the state will be delivered to reduce fish losses owing to flooding that will lead to productivity enhancement in the sector.
“Also, 20 solar powered kiosks will be supported, energy interventions in two locations will be done as well as 10 cottage processing industry, aggregation centres, and income generating assets will be done,” Sagoe-Oviebo said.
The project coordinator said that 879 farmers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) had been supported directly with inputs and equipment across poultry, rice and aquaculture values chains.
She added that 3, 516 had benefited indirectly, while over 8,500 farmers had received trainings and demonstrations with strong evidences of positive result 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).
“One thousand seven hundred (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 has been verified.
“Fifteen 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 N912.98 million with IDA cost of N746.86 million, 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.
“However, the project had maintained a good relationship with Africarice under the outsiders’ scheme as well as certification in conjunction with rice seeds council during the period.’’
The coordinator also said that other challenges faced ranges from delay in getting CAC certificates for beneficiaries under WYEP; rehabilitation of farm access roads were back loaded, among others, hoping that 2021 would be better.
Sagoe-Oviebo, however, thanked Gov. Babatunde Sanwo-Olu for increasing the People Living with Disabilities (PLD) from five per cent (project’s original slot for PLD beneficiaries) to 10 per cent to be supported directly from the counterpart funds.
She explained that the project had put in place mechanisms to monitor beneficiaries’ activities as well as a Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM), among others, for the smooth operations of the project’s target.