By Chinyere AMALU, Abuja
The $150 million World Bank assisted Commercial Agriculture Project has taken off in the 5 participating states of Nigeria, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Cross River and Kano.
During the just concluded First joint supervision mission of the Project, the Task Team Leader, Lucas Kolawole Akapa expressed satisfaction with the readiness and support of the participating states for the success of the $150 million project through the payment of their counterpart funds.
According to the World Bank sattement,Â the project will support three value chains per state as follows: Cross River, Oil palm, Cocoa and rice; Enugu is fruit trees, poultry and maize; Kaduna, fruit trees, Dairy and maize; Kano, rice, Dairy and maize and Lagos, poultry, aquaculture and rice.
The mission held interactive sessions as well as conducted field trips with Commodity Interest Groups (CIGs) and Commercial Agriculture Development Associations (CADAs) to assess their readiness and concerns.
â€œOn our part we are committed to raising agriculture to a higher level in Enugu state and make agro_entrepreneurs to have pride in agricultureâ€. More so it is an avenue to provide gainful employment for the youth in rural areas,â€ Sullivan Chime, Governor of Enugu State told the mission team during a courtesy visit.
â€œThe Commercial agriculture project is designed to improve access of small and medium scale farmers to modern farm technology, infrastructure and markets. The project is expected to create jobs as well as make agriculture a profitable business.
â€œThe objective is to strengthen agricultural production systems and facilitate access to market for the value chains in the participating states.Â It aims to raise farmers from subsistence farming to commercial levelâ€, it said.
The mission team was made up of staff of the World Bank, Commercial Agriculture Coordinating Office, and State Coordinating office, Ministry of Finance, Agriculture and Water Resources, National Bureau of statistics, National Fadama Development Office, Civil Society Organizations and consultants from Universities. Others are Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Rural Access and Mobility project (RAMP).