Women, others to benefit from $200m World Bank Agric funded project

No fewer than 21,000 women are expected to be part of 60,000 direct beneficiaries of a 200 million dollars World Bank Agric funded project in Nigeria.

The Head, Corporate Communications of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Anne Ihugba, made this known in a statement on Sunday.

She said the project, known as Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), which would be executed in six states of the federation, would also target 360,000 farm household members as indirect beneficiaries.

Hauwa stressed that the project would be “deployed in Cross River, Enugu, Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna, and Kano States, targeting 60,000 beneficiaries and 360,000 farm household members as indirect beneficiaries.

“It is anticipated that 35 per cent of direct beneficiaries or 21,000 individuals will be women.

“Additionally, the project has a dedicated sub-component to benefit women and youths that will allow them develop agri-businesses that are expected to create jobs and improve their livelihoods.”

According to her, this is shown at NIRSAL’s signing of a Memorandum of Agreement and Action (MoA) with APPEALS.

She noted that the project was meant for development, financing, and support of de-risked and optimised agribusiness projects.

Ihugba further stated that “in line with the project development objective of APPEALS, NIRSAL would provide its Tools, Techniques, Methodologies and strategic Partnerships (TTMPs) according to its Mapping to Markets (M2M) strategy on the project.

She said that this was with the aim of enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers.

She equally noted that NIRSAL through the project would ensure “improvement of value addition along the cassava, cashew, rice, poultry, aquaculture, cocoa, wheat, tomato, maize, ginger and dairy value chains in a sustainable manner.”

Ihugba said the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NIRSAL Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, had at the signing of the MOA, assured that APPEAL had found a trustworthy, reliable, and capable partner that shared the project’s objectives of improved value addition among others.

Abdulhameed according to her stated that NIRSAL would deploy its technologies toward the formation of Agro-Geo-Cooperatives for selected commodity value chains through geospatial mapping, soil suitability tests, Bank Verification Number (BVN) enrolment for farmers among others.

“NIRSAL will also link producers to relevant consumer, industrial and export markets through value chain roundtables, business deal facilitation meetings, and legally binding trade documentation.

“It will work with the state teams to structure agribusiness projects patterned after agreed sustainable models for APPEALS’ financing while deploying NIRSAL’s partnerships and models for Technology demonstration and adoption.

“To protect primary producers under the project from losses due to pest, diseases, adverse weather conditions and general drops in expected yields, NIRSAL will deploy its Area Yield Index Insurance product.

“To ensure business sustainability, NIRSAL will extend its technical advice to the APPEALS Project.

“With a view to instilling business discipline, adoption of a mandatory savings culture and reinvestment of profits for sustainability and expansion in the beneficiaries, ” she quoted him as saying.

She further stated that the National Project Coordinator of APPEALS Project, Dr Amin Babandi, expressed delight at what he described as a “turning point” in the project’s life cycle.

She stressed that Babandi, who is also Director of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD),  said “through this agreement, she was confident that APPEALS will achieve its set targets of impacting at least 60,000 direct and 360,000 indirect beneficiaries.”

According to her, the World Bank Task Team Leader of the APPEALS Project, Dr Sheu Salau, thanked NIRSAL for supporting the project with its technological know-how, expertise, and depth of knowledge in agribusiness.

She said he further noted that, to achieve its objective of enhancing agricultural productivity and improving value addition, APPEALS would focus on women and youths empowerment; infrastructure support to agri-business clusters; technical assistance, knowledge management and communication among others.

Ihugba said APPEALS was being coordinated by FMARD and implemented by a National Coordination Office and six state coordination offices.

She noted that in carrying out activities geared towards fixing broken agricultural value chains according to its mandate, NIRSAL would continue to establish strategic partnerships, with the MoA signing with APPEALS as one of such collaborations.

“It would be recalled that NIRSAL recently signed an agreement with FADAMA III-AF, another World Bank project, for the management of its Agricultural Infrastructure through the NIRSAL/Machines and Equipment Corporation Africa (MECA),”she said.(NAN)

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