Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat has urged the beneficiaries of the State’s Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement And Livelihood Support (APPEALS) project to put their training and subsequent support from the project into productive agricultural use.
Hamzat advised the beneficiaries to ”access the grant element of the project by developing viable investment plans that will not just make (them) agro-prenuers but also employers of labour.”
The deputy Governor stated this at the graduation ceremony of the batch 1 of the 1,620 beneficiaries of the women and youth empowerment scheme (WYEP) of the project at the Lagos Agricuture Institute in Araga, Epe.
Hamzat, who was represented by Mr. Adedoyin Adesanya, Chairman, Epe Local Government, said the APPEALS project was aimed at supporting farmers’ productivity, noting that the beneficiaries should avail themselves of several opportunities the collaboration between the Federal and State governments as well as the World Bank offer to them by coming up with viable business plans that will see them move up the ladder in agric-entrepreneurship.
The deputy governor congratulated the beneficiaries of the first batch APPEALS project empowerment programme, describing their success at the selection stage as a great feat.
He said: “Being here today as beneficiaries of APPEALS project women and youth empowerment programme is a major feat after being selected out of the over 7,000 applicants for the available 1,700 slots.
“I wish to congratulate all the beneficiaries on your involvement in this laudable project which is aimed at supporting the unemployed and the under–employed.”
He also commended the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture for achieving the feat.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, said the graduation of the Batch 1 WYEP signalled the beginning of a new concept to the APPEALS project implementation.
Lawal said the main thrust of APPEALS project was to increase productivity, production, improve processing and marketing of the target value chains, which would foster job creation along identified value chains.
He said that one of the primary objectives of the APPEALS project was employment generation, which, according to him, is in tandem with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s vision of providing employment for the teeming youth of the State in line with the administration’s THEMES agenda. The Commissioner said the government has been working to ensure employment generation and food security.
“The Ministry of Agriculture has been doing that through various projects such as Agriculture based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES), Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP).
“Today, I present to you 350 beneficiaries; 165 in Poultry value chain, 35 in Rice value chain and 150 in Aquaculture value chain as batch 1 of the APPEALS project empowerment programme.
Lawal urged the beneficiaries to open up their minds as agro-preneurs and make the best use of the opportunities provided to ensure that the aim of the programme is achieved.
The Special Adviser for Agriculture; Ms Bisola Olusanya stated at the event that there is a deficit of 188 Metric tonnes for the broilers, 6.7 Metric Tonnes for eggs and 218 Metric Tonnes for the aquaculture supply respectively in the State, noting that the Women and Youth beneficiaries equipped with the training and the grant support from APPEALS project should be able to improve in the demand and supply deficit of these value chains.
The State Project Coordinator, APPEALS project, Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo sounded confident that the beneficiaries would soon become major contributors in the food production and supply chains in Lagos.
Sagoe-Oviebo said the beneficiaries have assured her that their Business plans would be ready by next week, assuring that the project is not just going to impact in the lives of the 350 beneficiaries but will have multiplier effect with lots of job creation and livelihood improvement.
The APPEALS project Women and Youth Empowerment consist of provision of Technical Assistance in business planning, grants to finance sub-projects and mentorship for start-up or consolidation of existing women and youth led businesses as individual or a group of beneficiaries.
The basic strategy of APPEALS project is to increase productivity, production and improve processing and marketing of the targeted value chains which are expected to foster job.