By Jimoh Babatunde
The Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project has revealed that the Covid- pandemic did not affect the delivery of its mandate to farmers in targeting export and nutrition-sensitive technology last year, though it slowed down activities.
APPEALS is a World Bank, Federal Government and Lagos State tripartite partnership for small-scale farmers to access grants in form of inputs in three value chains (rice, poultry and aquaculture).
Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, the State Project Coordinator, SPC, while appraising the projects’ activities in 2020 added that the project will establish 1,465 businesses for women, youths, among others in 2021.
“Currently, we have 10, 000 direct beneficiaries; 60,000 indirect beneficiaries; identified and verified 9,942 farmers across the three value chains (rice, poultry and aquaculture).
“One thousand seven hundred (1,700) of green hands farmers; 3,601 farmers in aquaculture, 2,866 in poultry and 1,689 for rice value chains, while 8,156 existing farmers has been verified.
“Fifteen demonstrations were carried out in 2020 bringing the total to 23 from inception till date representing over a 100 per cent achievement from the project’s target of 17 per state,” Sagoe-Oviebo said.
She highlighted that the projects had received 71 no objections from the World Bank, saying: “ 71 numbers were received under the matching grants valued at N912.98 million with IDA cost of N746.86 million, under rice out-growers scheme presently ongoing.
“Activities under the project collaboration with research institutes and other project implementations were greatly affected by the crisis of COVID-19 and the unrest of ENDSARS.
“However, the project had maintained a good relationship with Africa rice under the outsiders’ scheme as well as certification in conjunction with rice seeds council during the period.”
The coordinator also said that other challenges faced ranges from delay in getting CAC certificates for beneficiaries under WYEP; rehabilitation of farm access roads was backloaded, among others, hoping that 2021 would be better.
Sagoe-Oviebo, however, thanked Gov. Babatunde Sanwo-Olu for increasing the People Living with Disabilities (PLD) from five per cent (project’s original slot for PLD beneficiaries) to 10 percent to be supported directly from the counterpart funds.
She explained that the project had put in place mechanisms to monitor beneficiaries’ activities as well as a Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM), among others, for the smooth operations of the project’s target.
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On this year’s APPEALS activities, Sagoe-Oviebo said “The project will be giving physical support to about three thousand small and medium scale farmers directly and over 12, 000 indirectly through our infrastructure support, jobs creation, trainings, among others.
“Step down the technologies demonstrated; 13.16 kilometres farm access roads rehabilitation will commence this year to enhance linkage to markets.
The 1,465 businesses for the WYEP and the PWDSN will be established and their livelihoods improved through physical improved assets supports.
“Desilting of canals in five locations across the state will be delivered to reduce fish losses owing to flooding that will lead to productivity enhancement in the sector.
“Also, 20 solar-powered kiosks will be supported, energy interventions in two locations will be done as well as 10 cottage processing industry, aggregation centres, and income-generating assets will be done,” Sagoe-Oviebo said.