By Olasunkanmi Akoni
No fewer than 10,000 farmers in Lagos State are to benefit from the World Bank-assisted agricultural scheme, under the Agro-processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support, APPEALS, project.
APPEALS, which revolves round training, is designed to build capacities of actors in the rice, aquaculture and poultry value chains.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, disclosed this on Thursday, during a ministerial briefing to commemorate first anniversary of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in office.
He said the project is aimed at attaining large-scale production and processing of rice, eggs, poultry and fish and ultimately to boost food production in Lagos.
Still speaking on the Lagos’ s farmers project, Lawal said: “We expect 35 percent of the beneficiaries to be women, while 10 percent would go to people with disabilities (PWD) and the rest 55 percent to youths.”
According to the commissioner, a total of 1,700 women and youths with interest in farming and agro-processing have already been selected for the training and empowerment under the programme, while 759 youths have been trained and prepared to be empowered with agricultural inputs in rice, poultry and aquaculture value chains.
His words: “The roadmap focuses on the development of agricultural value chains where the state has competitive and comparative advantages, including the provision and availability of improved inputs, increased productivity and production.
“The roadmap also addresses the issue of wholesomeness of food items, reduction in post-harvest losses, improving linkages with industry in respect to backward integration as well as access to financial services and markets.”
Lawal said the efforts were targeted towards increasing the state’s self-sufficiency from less than 20 to 40 percent of its food needs by 2023.
He expressed the present administration’s commitment to improving the red meat value chain through the establishment of standard operating procedures in processing, packaging and sales of red meat in the state.
The purpose, he said, was to ensure the provision of wholesome and hygienically processed beef for the populace, boost beef processing to international standards to facilitate export, and also stimulate foreign investment into the value chain.
He added that the implementation of the reform strategies were immediate, intermediate and long term.
The immediate strategies include identification and classification of abattoirs, butchers and markets using a colour code, linkage of EKO refrigerated meat vans to identified abattoir for supplies to the markets classified with codes, accompanied with issued veterinary health certificate as evidence that the meat has been inspected.