By Yekini Jimoh in Lokokja
About 10,000 farmers in Kogi State are to benefit from the $200 million grant of the World Bank assisted Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS) project.
Kogi State Project Coordinator of APPEALS, Dr. Abdullahi Ozomata, disclosed this yesterday in Lokoja at a news briefing.
He said Kogi was selected alongside Kano, Kaduna, Enugu, Cross River and Lagos states by the World Bank after a competitive process for the implementation of the APPEALS project which is to last for seven years.
According to him, the implementation of the project in Kogi State would focus on cassava, cashew and rice value chains which the state has comparative advantage.
Ozomata explained that the objective of the project was to enhance the productivity of farmers by ensuring they are moved from their present position of being subsistence farmers to commercial farmers.
“We are looking at giving grants to farmers and aside, we are looking forward to working with the real farmers and not political farmers. The project is also going to look at rural infrastructure for farm clusters so that it can enhance their farming activities and livelihood.
“The women and youths sub components will also give them opportunity to partake in other farming activities that is within the priority value chain of the
“The project is to move small subsistence farmers that are into five hectares for instance into 10 hectares or more,’’ Ozomata said.
He enumerated the various components of the APPEAL project to include production and productivity enhancement, primary processing, value addition, post-harvest management and women/youth empowerment.
Other components, according to him, are infrastructure support, technical assistance, knowledge and communication as well as project management and coordination.
He said baseline study for the project had been done while needs assessments were being carried to ascertain the gaps that needed interventions across the benefiting communities.
Ozomata said sensitisation programme that would involve all critical stakeholders in the project would be held subsequently to enable them understand the objectives of the project and the modalities of its implementation.
He solicited for the support of the media and other relevant stakeholders to ensure success of the project.
Ozomata commended the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello for his support in ensuring the success of the project which will improve the economic well-being and livelihood of local farmers, women and youths.