The Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project, assisted by the World Bank, is focused on improving yields and agro-processing development.
The Project Coordinator, Mrs Oluranti Oviebo told participants at an Advocacy and Interaction Session in Lagos that the project will focus on three value-chains which include Rice, Poultry and Aquaculture.
Oviebo said that the APPEALS project would enhance the agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition.
“The project is basically to increase production output, processing and marketing.
“We are also looking at ways to support farmers through introduction and adoption of improved technologies and to empower farmers through cash and/or inputs.
“The project trains farmers and partners with research institutes to develop new ways that will aid improved yields,’’ she said.
According to Oviebo, about 35 per cent of the beneficiaries will be women with no age limit, while the men must be between 18 and 40 years.
“They must have spent a minimum of 3 years in their chosen venture,’’ she said.
Oviebo also said that the project would work better with aggregators and farmer-clusters that would as well immediately support both processing and marketing.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Toyin Suarau, said the state had paid part of its counterpart fund of N36 million and reiterated government’s commitment to the project and overall agricultural development.
Suarau, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, said the state would support the efforts of the project in every way.
“The APPEALS project will help to improve productivity in the state and farmers should key into the project and embrace its activities.
“Food security and sufficiency is what any society should advocate for and that is what the Gov. Akinwumi Ambode’s administration stands for.
“The incoming government has also shown commitment to make agriculture a prominent part of the administration.
“The state government has engaged in several initiatives to promote agricultural developments like the accelerated food expansion, red meat development, empowerment and partnership programmes,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator of APPEALS, Dr Amin Babandi, said that Lagos State had always surpassed expectations and lauded the advocacy forum, stating that it would help to seek best approaches.
Babandi, who was represented by the Project Operations Officer, Dr Salisu Garba.
“Lagos State should maintain and improve the standards it sets in terms of agricultural development because other states are trying to take after its model,’’ he said.
A retired Permanent Secretary, Mr Bode Oyedele, who spoke at the event, said that Lagos State should be given more applications because of its achievements.
Oyedele, however, identified the delay in payment of counterpart funds as the major setback to the development of such projects.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that stakeholders from agriculture insurance, research and development, farmers’ associations, processors, marketers and royal father, were present at the event.