…in agriculture-funded project across six states
No fewer than 60,000 Nigerians will benefit from World Bank’s $200 million agriculture-funded project.
Of the number, 21,000 women are direct beneficiaries of the World Bank project.
The project, known as Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), scheduled to be executed in six states of the federation, would also target 360,000 farm household members as indirect beneficiaries.
Head, Corporate Communications of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Anne Ihugba, in a statement yesterday, said the project would be deployed in Cross River, Enugu, Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna, and Kano states, targeting 60,000 beneficiaries and 360,000 farm household members as indirect beneficiaries.
“It is anticipated that 35 per cent of direct beneficiaries or 21,000 individuals will be women. Additionally, the project has a dedicated sub-component to benefit women and youths that will allow them develop agri-businesses that are expected to create jobs and improve their livelihoods,” she added.
NIRSAL has signed Memorandum of Agreement and Action (MoA) on APPEALS.
She noted that the project was meant for development, financing, and support of de-risked and optimised agribusiness projects.
Ihugba stated that: “In line with the project development objective of APPEALS, NIRSAL would provide its Tools, Techniques, Methodologies and strategic Partnerships (TTMPs) according to its Mapping to Markets (M2M) strategy on the project.”
According to her, this was with the aim of enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers.
She equally noted that NIRSAL, through the project, would ensure “improvement of value addition along the cassava, cashew, rice, poultry, aquaculture, cocoa, wheat, tomato, maize, ginger and dairy value chains in a sustainable manner.”
Ihugba said the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, had at the signing of the MoA, assured that APPEALS had found a trustworthy, reliable and capable partner that shared the project’s objectives of improved value addition among others.
The NIRSAL CEO assured that the agency would deploy its technologies toward the formation of Agro-Geo-Cooperatives for selected commodity value chains through geospatial mapping, soil suitability tests, Bank Verification Number (BVN) enrolment for farmers among others.
“NIRSAL will also link producers to relevant consumer, industrial and export markets through value chain roundtables, business deal facilitation meetings, and legally binding trade documentation.
“It will work with the state teams to structure agribusiness projects patterned after agreed sustainable models for APPEALS’ financing while deploying NIRSAL’s partnerships and models for technology demonstration and adoption.
“To protect primary producers under the project from losses due to pests, diseases, adverse weather conditions and general drops in expected yields, NIRSAL will deploy its Area Yield Index Insurance product.
“To ensure business sustainability, NIRSAL will extend its technical advice to the APPEALS Project with a view to instilling business discipline, adoption of a mandatory savings culture and reinvestment of profits for sustainability and expansion in the beneficiaries,” Abdulhameed said.
The National Project Coordinator of APPEALS Project, Dr. Amin Babandi, expressed delight at what he described as a “turning point” in the project’s life cycle.
Babandi, who is also Director of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), said “through this agreement, he was confident that APPEALS will achieve its set targets of impacting at least 60,000 direct and 360,000 indirect beneficiaries.”
Ihugba said APPEALS was being coordinated by FMARD and implemented by a National Coordination Office and six state coordination offices.
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