As part of its strategic measure to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition among women and youths, the Lagos State Government said it has directly supported 879 farmers and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME’s) with physical inputs and equipment over the last three years.
The empowerment, the state said, came through the support mission of the World Bank assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Empowerment Support (APPEALS) Project.
Speaking over the weekend at the opening ceremony of the pre-6th Implementation Support Mission of the Project in Lagos, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said the support came across the poultry, rice and aquaculture value chains. Olusanya, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, noted that 3,516 stakeholders have benefitted indirectly from the project, just as over 8000 farmers had received trainings/demonstrations with strong evidence of positive outcomes.
While stating that the current administration through its THEMES Agenda is harnessing agriculture as one of the major drivers in attaining a 21st century economy, the Commissioner noted that the state Ministry of Agriculture is providing maximum support to the project in ensuring sustainability to the contribution of these value chains to food security, local production, improvement of livelihood and export market.
“The State Steering Committee (SSC) and State Technical Committee (STC) have been performing their oversight functions in ensuring that the project implementation remains on course and I make bold to say that project stakeholders have so far been satisfied with the level of interventions.
“However, Lagos State being a State of Excellence is always striving to be better. We pray and hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will be a thing of history within the first quarter of Year 2021 at least with the invention of the vaccine. This I believe will aid in smooth and uninterrupted implementation which will make us cover more grounds in this present year.
“I implore this mission’s team to look critically at ways of removing all bottlenecks 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.”
The Commissioner assured that “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.”
In his pre-mission objectives address, the National Coordinator, APPEALS Project, Mr Mohammed Jobdi, said the mission was to review all activities embarked upon by the APPEALS project in Lagos, adding 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.
He said, “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.
“The project has recorded significant achievements in Lagos State with the election and training of beneficiaries of the Women and Youth Empowerment Programme, the development of Business Investment Plans by beneficiaries and all other areas of the Project’s interventions.”
On her part, the State Project Coordinator, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, said the APPEALS project is in consonance with the agenda of the government, adding that more farmers, women and youths will still be accommodated over the next three years