Dr. Abdullahi Ozomata, Kogi State Project Coordinator of Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS) project, an initiative supported by the World Bank, said about 10,000 famers in the state are to benefit from a $200 million grant from the institution.
Ozomata, who disclosed the development at a news briefing in Lakoja, capital of Kogi State, noted that the state was selected alongside Kano, Kaduna, Enugu, Cross River and Lagos states in Nigeria by the World Bank, after a competitive process for the implementation of the APPEALS project which is to last for seven years.
He said 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.
According to the Project Coordinator, “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”.
He added that “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 project. The project is to move small subsistence farmers that are into five hectares for instance into 10 hectares or more.
Ozomata noted that the different components of the APPEAL project to include production and productivity enhancement, primary processing, value addition, post-harvest management and women/youth empowerment. Other components include infrastructure support, technical assistance, knowledge and communication as well as project management and coordination.
He revealed that the 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.
Ozomata also solicited for the support of the media and other relevant stakeholders to ensure success of the project.