The agricultural sector is a priority for the Lagos State Government. During the Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement, and Livelihood Support (APPEALS) project monitoring tour in Badagry, the Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said the state was determined to help rice farmers through mechanization to reduce post-harvest losses and ensure better incomes for them.
She noted the many advantages of mechanization in rice cultivation. According to her, mechanization and good agronomic practices could yield better results for farmers. To this end, she reiterated that the government was working on measures to speed up mechanization in rice cultivation in Badagry by encouraging more farmers to use machines.
Ms Olusanya said she was impressed with the impact of implementation by APPEALS project, saying that she had a fantastic experience during the field monitoring at implementation sites. She said the satisfaction and happiness expressed by the beneficiaries over the support given by APPEALS was, particularly, gratifying and laudable.
She further said the state would soon start the implementation and popularisation of urban farming and urged participants to consider homestead farming to support the government’s drive for food security.
Presenting the project brief, the state Coordinator of APPEALS Project, Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, said about 20 demonstrations on improved technologies across the selected value chains of Aquaculture, Poultry and Rice had been carried out.
According to her, eight of the demonstrations were carried out last year and are being used by farmers, while the project had also supported farmers who sought support to adopt to the new improved technologies.
Mrs Sagoe-Oviebo said part of the sites visited were those of beneficiaries from the implemented 30 Value Chains Investment Plans (VCIPs), supporting 295 people, consisting of 206 males and 89 females, as beneficiary farmers and small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) with improved input.
She also said another 38 VCIPs recently issued No Objections by the World Bank to support about 400 farmers as the beneficiaries were under implementation, adding that the exercise would be completed before end of last month.
Mrs Sagoe-Oviebo said the project had trained over 5000 beneficiaries this year and 1,307 out of the 1,621 regular beneficiaries under the Women and Youth Empowerment Programme since inception of the project, while a consulting firm has been engaged to conduct the agri-business needs assessments of 170 persons with disability and special selected in the state for empowerment.
“Partners and stakeholders that were involved in the joint implementation support monitoring exercise were the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Office of the Deputy Governor, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Project Financial Management Unit, State Treasury Office, Debt Management Office and Project Coordinating Unit (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) as well as the state APPEALS Project Implementation Unit members,” Mrs Sagoe-Oviebo said.
The team members expressed satisfaction with the level of implementation by the project and urged them to ensure sustainability of support for the beneficiaries.
APPEALS Project is a World Bank-supported project to respond to widespread of poverty, subsistence, low input, low output and low equilibrium trap, a major focus of the Federal Government Agricultural Promotion Policy known as The Green Alternative (APP:2016-2020), among others.
The cost of financing APPEALS by the International Development Association (IDA) is $200 million. It will cover Lagos, Cross River, Enugu, Kano, Kaduna, and Kogi states over six years.
The Project Development Objective (PDO) is aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improving value addition along priority value chains in participating states. The selected value chains for Lagos are Poultry, Rice and Aquaculture.