The World Bank through the Appeals Project under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has mapped out strategies to train youths and women in Cross River State, South-South, Nigeria.
The outgoing task leader of Appeals Project, Dr. SheuSalau stated this in an interview with Voice of Nigeria on Thursday after the opening ceremony of a two weeks on-going programme organised by the management of the Appeals project at Axari hostel and Suites located at MurtalaMuhammed High way, Calabar, the Capital of Cross River State, South-South, Nigeria.
Dr. SheuSalau expressed the aims and objective of the Appeals Project, ‘’the Appeals Project was created to partnership with World Bank for improving livelihood of small older farmers and supporting their productivity of their farm products. The project will also connect them to the market, so that they can get better prizes for their products.
Dr. SheuSalau noted the challenges various small scale farmers usually face in the course of producing their farm products and taken the crops to the market to sell.
“One of the problems smaller farms face is the access to the market, they produce, they take it to the market, customers only buy few of these items and some of these products are perishable.’’
According to Dr. SheuSalau, the organisation will do their best to make sure they identify the real farmers in the states.
‘’We have a mechanism of going to the ward level to identify these farmers.
‘’Appeals Project is working presently with six states in Nigeria and they intend to add more states in the future. We have our project in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Enugu, Cross River and Kogi States respectively. The states may go up to 12 or more, this project is actually a follow-up project to the close commercial agricultural development project, Cross River State was part of that product. The Federal government in their agricultural promotion policy, have identify some strategic crops, some are for food securities, and some are for exportpurposes. It is not all the states in the federation that has advantage for the project, for example when we talk about coco and rice, they are produced majorly in Cross River State, also Cashew is majorly produced in Enugu among others,’’ Dr. SheuSalau stated.
Dr. SheuSalau shared more light on the various categories of beneficiaries of the programme.
“We have three broad categories of beneficiaries, the small older farmers in the rural areas, we have another categories we call the women and youths and we have groups of farmers that known as cooperatives. The disabilities ones will also be given the opportunities to take part in the programme.’’
According to the state project Coordinator of the Cross River State Appeals Project, Mr. Marcel Agim,in an interview with Voice of Nigeria, stated the third major farm products Cross River State produces, ‘’in Cross River State, we have three major valve chains which is rice, cocoa and poultry. The project sees that there should be food on the table of every Nigerian’’.
Mr. Marcel Agim went further to explain the inception of the programme,
“The project has started about one year and seven months but the actual implementation, was in October last year 2018.’’
He also enlightened the beneficiaries thus: ‘’Women from 40 years to any level that are still strong, then youths from 18 to 40 years.’’
Mr. Marcel Agim pleaded with World Bank to increase the numbers of beneficiaries.
“We targeting 400, but people that showed interest are about 31 thousand people, we are pleading with the national body that is World Bank, to increase these numbers of the beneficiaries to a reasonable number.’’
According to Marcel Agim, 200, million dollars has been released for the programme.
The money coming to the project for the six participating states is two hundred million dollars. The money is in a pool were a certain amount will be release to a state, as you finish it, you go to the pool, and get from there, until when the money is exhausted.’’
He also advised all farmers in the six participating states saying: ‘’They should know that this project is not coming to give any farmer cash. We give raw materials, for example if you are a poultry farmer, we build achicken house for you, we put batteries cages, we bring chickens, we give you a services provider to supply feeds until when they are matured, you are a free person to sell and use the money for yourself.’’
According to Mr. John Ewa, a staff of Zenith Bank which is one of the clients of the Appeals Project in Cross River State, described the relationship the bank has with the organisation and also advised the Federal government.
“They are a wonderful good client and we are working peacefully with them. Their programme is a wonderful progrmmme that empower women and youths which is a good development if the country can continue with the programme it will be a wonderful project’’.
The event was tag the 3rd Implementation Support Mission which started on the 17th of June 2019 and will come to a closure on the 30th of June 2019 in Cross River State.
The event was organised by the management of Appeals Project for them to take stock from the six participating states of what they have done so far in respect of the training that is coming ahead.
The Appeals Project has the national coordinating office at the Federal level representing the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. At the state level the Appeals Project have the state project coordinating office, their responsibility is to work with the state Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders
The aims and objective of Appeals project are Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project which is assisted by World Bank under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development having a two weeks programme in Calabar the Capital of Cross River State, South-South, Nigeria.