By Olayinka Olawale
Lagos, Jan. 25, 2021 The Lagos State Government says it will continue to make regular payments of its counterpart funds and provision of capable human resources to all donor and World Bank Assisted Projects.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya made the pledge at the opening ceremony of a pre-6th Implementation Support Mission of the World Bank Assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Empowerment Support (APPEALS) Project, on Saturday, in Lagos.
Olusanya, who was represented by Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, noted that the regular and prompt payment of counterpart funds would facilitate successful project implementation in the state’s chosen Poultry, Rice and Aquaculture value chains.
She said the support mission would review the activities and interventions of the APPEALS project in the past three years and make adjustments, where necessary.
“The state will always contribute its quota to all donor/World Bank Assisted Projects, through regular payments of its counterpart contributions, as well as provision of capable human resources for the successful implementation of the projects.
“It is our collective duty to see that the project objective is achieved. I wish you a successful Implementation Support Mission,” Olusanya said.
Olusanya noted that a total of 879 farmers and Small and Medium Scale enterprises had been supported directly, with physical inputs and equipment, across the Poultry, Rice and Aquaculture value chains in the last three years, in addition to 3,516 stakeholders that benefitted indirectly from the project.
Similarly, over 8000 farmers had received trainings/demonstrations with strong evidence of positive outcomes for the achievement of the Project Development Objective in the State, she added.
“This is yet another opportunity for us to interact and contribute immensely to the actualization of the Project’s objective of enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers.
“It is also improving value addition along the chosen priority value chains; Poultry, Aquaculture and Rice in the state.
“The state government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is providing maximum support to the Project in ensuring that the contributions of these value chains to food security, local production, improvement of livelihood and creation of export market, are sustained”, the commissioner said.
She added: “The present administration of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu through the THEMES Agenda is exploring and investing in the use of innovation and technology to create competitive advantage in ensuring that Lagos attains a 21st century economy.
“Agriculture remains one of the major drivers in achieving this feat.
“We assure you of our readiness to constantly come up with a conducive regulatory framework and a business-friendly environment, where commerce thrives, by providing support for the key economic sectors of which agriculture is a major part.”
The commissioner charged the coordinators and participants to address all bottle necks associated with the project’s implementation, to avert any food crisis that may arise due to the COVID-19 pandemic and security challenges.
She also urged them to find solutions to the major challenge of high cost of feed, facing stakeholders in the poultry and aquaculture value chains, adding: “The solution to this and many more crisis is what we, as executors of intervention projects, should be looking into.”
“I implore this mission’s team to look critically at ways of removing all bottle necks associated with the implementation of APPEALS project, especially because of the looming food crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and other security challenges in the country.
According to her, with over 20 million residents and an estimated net migration rate of 123,000 people daily, Lagos is a uniquely high – pressured state.
“In spite of our relatively small land mass and some geographical limitations, we account for over 60 per cent of industrial and commercial activities of the nation.
“As little as our land is, we want to produce significantly more crops per acre, improve the quantity and quality of produce, mitigate against risks and secure the environment.
“It is part of the mandate of the project to come up with climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive technologies to achieve this strength”, she also said.
The National Coordinator, APPEALS Project, Mr Mohammed Jobdi, said the mission was to review all activities embarked upon by the APPEALS project in Lagos, explaining that the essence of the pre-mission was to critique and assess the project in-house, before meeting with the World Bank and other major stakeholders on the budget.
Jobdi said the mission had undertaken a similar exercise in Kaduna a few days ago, to review the interventions in the state, adding that Kaduna state had presented its own project report and it had been discussed.
“We started something like this in Kaduna State a few days ago and we are here in Lagos to replicate what we did. Under the project, we should be able to review our implementation progress to see how far we have fared, and see how we can forge a way for the future of the project in 2023.
“We flagged-off the pre-6th Implementation Support Mission bearing in mind that we have the Mid-term review meeting that is coming up from February 21 to 26.
“We are conscious of that and what was prescribed by the budget, we are supposed to go out to the fields and take stock of what we have done. We are now in Lagos and at the end of this exercise, we will all re-converge”, Jobdi said.
Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, the State Project Coordinator, said participants would also conduct some field visits to Igbodu poultry cluster and Ebute Afuye aquaculture cluster, both in Epe, for on-the-spot assessment.
Naija247news reports that participants were drawn from Kaduna, Enugu, Lagos and the National Coordinating Office, Abuja, for the three-day implementation support mission from Jan. 22 to 25.