State Coordinators laud FG/World Bank agric project initiative

World bank

Project Coordinators have commended the Federal Government initiative in the 200 million dollars World Bank assisted project called Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS).

The state coordinators in separate interviews with newsmen at one-week facilitation training on Monday in Lagos, said implementation of the project would not only benefit states but the country at large.

The coordinators, who were drawn from six benefitting states, said the project would assist in the development of the agricultural sector in the country.

The benefiting states are: Cross River, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Enugu and Kogi.

The coordinators further said that in view of the importance of the project, state governments though not part of the agreement, had demonstrated willingness to support the project through counterpart funding.

Mr Marcel Agim, Cross River State Coordinator, said that the state government had approved N2.9 billion as its counterpart funding, in view of Gov. Ben Ayade’s resolve to move the state forward.

He said: “The governor is interested in the project, that is why he committed the money for the type of model where clusters will be in the three senatorial districts for farmers to converge as well as smaller clusters in the 18 local government areas in the state.”

Agim told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the state was concentrating on poultry, cocoa and rice because it had comparative advantage in those crops.

He said the project was intended to support beneficiaries with inputs only, adding that for those interested necessary technology, equipment and infrastructure would be provided to help them set up and to grow.

Ms Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, Lagos State Project Coordinator, said the state government had approved N34.4 million to support the project, expressing optimism that more financial support would be given by the government.

The Kaduna State Coordinator, Mr Yahaya Abdullahi, said the state’s focus was on maize, dairy and ginger.

He noted that the type of ginger grown in Nigeria was of high quality with high demand within and outside the country.

He, however, expressed regret that “the country has not been able to meet up with international standards and not really exporting it because of poor handling by farmers.”

He expressed optimism that the APPEALS project would help introduce required technology and measures to make Nigerian ginger more acceptable in the international market.

Kano State Coordinator, Mr Hassan Ibrahim,  said the state was focusing on rice, tomatoes and wheat.

He said that the state government had approved counterpart funding of N280 million annually, saying “we are waiting for disbursement.”

Similarly, Enugu State Coordinator, Mr Nnedu Nweke, said the state had chosen to focus on cashew, poultry and rice.

He explained that when fully implemented, the project would benefit the state to a large extent.

On state government’s commitment to the project, he said “negotiations are ongoing.”

Kogi State Coordinator, Dr Sanni Abdullahi, said the state government had approved annual support of N200million to the project.

He said though the money had not been released, he expressed hope that the government would fulfil its pledge.

Abdullahi noted that the state was focusing on cassava, cashew and rice.

The World Bank International Development Association Project Appraisal Document on the proposed 200 million dollar credit, indicated that three-step approach was adopted in identifying participating states in different stages.

The 92 page document, noted that one the factors considered was “availability of operational knowledge on value chains in the potential participating states and readiness to fast-track project implementation.”

It further noted that with overall project performance and funding availability, the project would expand to cover up to three additional states.

It also stated that due consideration would be given to collaboration between states, for complementarity along the value chain clusters and corridors.

The APPEALS project, being implemented through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, is a six-year project, expected to run between 2017 and 2023.

The project is in line with the Agricultural Promotion Policy (The Green Alternative) of the Federal Government.

It is meant to build on the legacy of the Jonathan administration’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) and plans, to support policy thrust on food security, local production, job creation and Economic Diversification.

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