No fewer than 1, 700 women and youths in Kano State are to benefit from the World Bank Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement, and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) empowerment programme.
The Kano state APPEALS Project Coordinator, Alhaji Hassan Ibrahim, who disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Kano, said that the applicants for the projects are been interviewed for placement.
NAN reports that the 10 years programme at the cost of 200 million dollars is a collaborative effort of the World Bank, Federal Government and six State Governments.
Ibrahim said the move is aimed at increasing agricultural productivity in the State and reducing poverty and unemployment among women and youths.
He said after interviewing the successful applicants on the type of agricultural enterprises they chose to undertake, they would proceed for special training at three different training institutes.
The Coordinator said the institutes are located at the Bayero University Kano, Audu Bako College of Agriculture and Kano University of Science and Technology (KUST), Wudil.
He said after the training, the successful beneficiaries would be given the grant to enable them to start their own businesses in nine agricultural enterprises, which includes rice, wheat and tomato production, fish and poultry farming among others.
In her remarks, Mrs. Heather Akanni, a National Women, youths livelihood specialist at APPEALS project National Coordinating Office, Abuja, said the benefitting states include Cross River, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, and Enugu.
She explained that the development objective of the APPEALS is to enhance the agricultural productivity of small and medium-scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating states.
Akani added that the project has five components on production, value addition, infrastructure, and project management, and coordination is to ensure effective management.
“The beneficiaries are expected to be unemployed, and between the ages of 18 and 40 but women older than 40 years can participate in the programme.
“It is anticipated that 35 per cent of the beneficiaries will be women while five per cent will be people with disability.
“The project has a dedicated sub-component to benefit women and youth that will allow them to develop agri-business that is expected to create more jobs and improve their productivity,” Akanni explained.
The NWYL specialist said all the successful applicants including people with special needs would be given six-month training on how to go about the programme which is agric-based.
Also speaking, the APPEALS’ officer in charge of women and youths empowerment at Kano State Coordinating office, Usman Mohammed-Abdulhamid said a total of 41, 000 people filled the application forms out of which only 31,289 returned them.