About 8,520 persons have so far benefitted from the World Bank assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project in Enugu State.
The Enugu State Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, disclosed this during a two-day World Bank 9th Implementation Support Mission held in Enugu on Tuesday.
According to her, the project has empowered Small and Medium Enterprises totalling 3,478, under Women and Youths Empowerment Programme (WYEP) and 1,700 farmers.
She explained that APPEALs project had impacted greatly on the agricultural sector in Enugu State.
Ezeilo said: “Many farmers in the State have also benefited through capacity training, technology demonstration, construction of aggregation and processing centres.
The Deputy Governor said the support by the APPEALS Project had impacted on farmers, especially in enhancing their productivity across the three priority value chains of rice, cashew and poultry.
She added that 15 aggregation/cottage processing centres were currently being constructed across various locations in the state.
“I wish to assure the World Bank Task Team Leader for APPEALS, Manievel Sene, that we are doing everything possible to ensure construction of 13.3 kilometers access roads.
“We are working to fast track the implementation of energy and more,” she said.
In his remark, the National Project Coordinator, APPEALS, Alhaji Mohammed Jobdi, said the plenary was aimed at interacting and reviewing what APPEALS Project had done.
He explained that the gathering would offer them an opportunity to interact with experts on what the state had achieved and address issues facing the project in the state from achieving its objective.
Earlier, the Acting State Coordinator, Enugu APPEALS, Mrs Ihuoma Eze, said the current project implementation status across the components would be reviewed and opened for advice from the team.
This, she said, would help to achieve the project development objectives to improve agricultural productivity, including Small and Medium Scale farmers to enhance value.
LASG Moves To Prevent Hoarding, Sells Rice, Others
The Lagos State Agricultural Inputs Supply Authority (LAISA) has started selling rice and other food stuffs at reduced prices to prevent hoarding and overpricing during the yuletide.
Assistant General Manager, Commercial, LAISA, Mr Jide Ajenifuja, made this known to The Tide’s source in Lagos.
He said the sale is aimed at stabilising the market prices and not to take over businesses from traders in the market.
“In agribusiness, the moment government comes with the price, the suppliers and also those who are hoarding rice will want to increase the price.
“Now, the state government says a bag of rice is N37,000; we know that Christmas and also election are approaching, therefore, nobody will want to hoard it more than necessary.
“Long grain local rice cost N37,000 per 50kg bag, three litres of Soya bean oil cost N5,000 while one liter of Soya bean sells for N1,900,’’ he said.
The assistant general manager said that there was substantial products in stock and that LAISA would purchase more commodities with availability of funds.
He further said the commodities would be available till 2023 next year because of the election.
He stated that LAISA started the sale of products at Oko-Oba, Agege, on Monday.
“We want to create the awareness that people can purchase rice and oil for the festive period at our office.
“People have started making orders, and we will start delivering them from Wednesday,” he said.
Ajenifuja, however, pointed out that the price of agricultural commodities is fluctuating due to inflation and other crisis globally.
“Last year, we sold rice between N24,000 and N26,000; even early this year, we sold rice at N28,000. But now, it is N37,000 per 50kg.
“The price of agricultural commodities is fluctuating. Fertiliser for instance sold for N7,000 between February and March, but it rose to N27,000 in June and July.
“We knew that there is a looming food crisis. It has already started happening in Egypt, Kenya and other developed countries than Nigeria.
“We sell fertiliser, agro-chemicals, cages and many more. Our primary responsibility is the sale of agricultural produce. We normally sell rice during Christmas”, he said.
Agriculture, Tool To End Poverty – Dep Gov
The Kwara State Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, has said agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty in the country.
According to a statement issued by Mrs Modupe Joel, his Chief Press Secretary, Alabi stated this in his office during a courtesy visit by the Pig Farmers Association of Nigeria (PFAN), Kwara State Branch, led by Mr Lekan Oyedepo, the Chairman.
Noting that food security is essential to all citizens as food is required for a healthy and active life, he said agriculture beyond food production and animal husbandry play other important economic, cultural, social roles and provide multiple functions and services.
Alabi, however, explained that focusing on women and the youth is key to transforming agriculture in the country.
“Africa is a continent of young people, about 60 per cent of the population is under 24 years old while women make up half of the population.
“With tremendous capacity to innovate and engage meaningfully and lucratively in the agricultural sector, youth should be empowered and attracted into agriculture with focus on service provision in the value chains of key commodities,” he said.
In his goodwill message, Mr Oyedepo, the Chairman of PFAN and Kwara Pork Festival, explained that their main focus is to promote pork consumption and the development of the value chain associated with the Pig farming industry.
He requested that the pig and pork value chain should be better recognized in the economy of Kwara, noting that currently the industry transaction figures are averaging N30 to N35 million monthly.
Inflation: More Women Engage In Backyard Farming For Food Supply
In a bid to supply the family stomach infrastructural needs, some women in Jos metropolis have started backyard farming, seeking alternatives to high prices of staple food and vegetables.
Some of the women who spoke with The Tide’s source, said “it is commonsensical to have a small farm to augment income and extra food supplies for the family”.
A teacher, Mrs Grace Joshua, said she planted everything plantable in her farm as the high cost of food in the market is overbearing.
“I have harvested my corn, sweet potatoes and cassava. They are enough to feed my family for a year,” said Joshua.
A poultry farmer said she planted sweet potatoes and some vegetables for her family use.
“I will try beans and other crop next year as my entire family now depends on produce from the farm”, she said.
In her contribution, Mrs Helen Dung, a mother of three children, said her backyard vegetable farm paid some of her bills this year and she even had enough to give relatives.
The State Coordinator, Country Women’s Association of Nigeria (COWAN), Mrs Jessica Vonkat, said every woman had been advised to cultivate staple food crops and vegetables in their backyard, adding that the recent hike in prices of food stuffs is enough to push everyone into farming.
She said aside the huge health benefit of eating fresh vegetables from the backyard, it would help women save money and reduce cost.
“I have cement floor in my house but I use polythene bags for planting and this year I got yams, corn and vegetables,” she said.
She also said farming is more of a hobby to her, adding, “I would encourage every woman to key into backyard farming to enhance food security.
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