Nothing less than 60,000 farmers, including, women, youths and People Living With Disabilities (PWD), in Kaduna state are to benefit from the Federal Government’s agro processing and support value chain project.
The project, Agro processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), is a project developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in collaboration with the World Bank with over $200 million to cover six states. Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Cross River, Kogi, and Enugu are the six participating states with dairy, ginger, tomato, cassava, rice, cocoa cashew, wheat, poultry, aquaculture, and maize value chains.
The project is in line with the Agricultural Promotion Policy “The Green Alternative” that focuses on food security, local production, job creation and economic diversification.
Speaking at a one-day stakeholders sensitization workshop in Kaduna, Coordinator of the project, Dr. Yahaya Aminu, disclosed that, “the project targets 10,000 direct beneficiaries and 50,000 indirectbeneficiaries in Kaduna state.
“At least 35% (3500) of direct beneficiaries will be women and at least 5-10% (500-1000) will be People with Disabilities (PWD). The project has a component to benefit women and youth that will allow them to develop agribusinesses that are expected to create jobs and improve their livelihoods.”
Dr. Yahaya stated that the project is meant to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains that are dairy, ginger and maize for Kaduna state.
He said this would be achieved by supporting farmers’ productivity and their linkage to markets, facilitating consolidation of agricultural products and cottage processing, facilitating farmers and small and medium businesses’ clustering and connection to infrastructure network and business services. The project is expected to achieve; increase in productivity of agricultural produce of priority value chains of farmers supported by the project, increase in processed output of priority value chains by project beneficiaries”.
Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Arc Barnabas Bala Bantex, who was represented at the event by Dr. Abdulkadir Kasim, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, who is also the chairman state technical committee of the project, said, the state government is recording landmark achievements in its drive to promote agriculture.
According to him, “we are not relenting in our desire to engineer transition in agriculture from small scale subsistence activity to a market oriented commercially viable business. This is the reason why Kaduna state is one of the six states collaborating with the Federal Government and the World Bank in the implementation of project.
“It is not by accident that Kaduna state selected dairy, ginger and maize as its PVCs for the APPEALS project. Let me reiterate that the choice is deliberate. Maize is selected to promote food security, ginger is for its export potential and dairy is to improve livelihood. These will support our drive to create jobs improve standard of living and attract investment into the economy of our dear state.
“Kaduna state is an agrarian state with over 70% of the population engaged in crop and livestock production. It has a land area of 4.5 million hectares out of which 2 million is arable land. Nigeria is the 10th producer of maize in the world, while Kaduna is leading the pack in national maize production. Every part of the crop can be used as food, feed and fuel. We are also the largest producer of fresh ginger and investment in ginger production and processing can create over 5,000 jobs.
“Nigeria is the largest producer of cow milk in West Africa. Kaduna state has estimated number of 2 million cattle and about 800,000 milking cows, but produces just a little above 400,000 litres of milk per annum, mainly by pastoralists. The opportunity of investment is awesome.
“The project will support government policy thrust and priorities for the agriculture sector. Our support for the project will be unrelenting. The Government has already released a take off grant of N48 million for the project, which to my knowledge is the only participating state that has given this funding for the project,” Bantex said.