The Kogi State Project Coordinator of the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) Dr, Sanni Abdullahi Ozomata has said that 4,169 farmers across of Rice, Cashew and Cassava value chains have benefited directly from the support facilitated by the project to enhance their productivity and improve their livelihood.
Dr Ozomata stated this during the presentation of the APPEALS project score card from inception to date at the Kogi state economic council meeting held at the government house in Lokoja.
The state project coordinator while reeling out the achievements of the APPEALS project in the state since inception, said out of the 4169 farmers supported so far, 2312 (55.46 per cent) are males while 1857 (44.54) are female.
He said there is a 40 per cent increase in the livelihood of the project supported farmers in the state.
Dr Ozomata said at the inception of the project, the state coordination office embarked on a farm Centre based advocacy and sensitization campaign across farming communities in the state as a way of creating awareness about the existence of the project with actual farmers benefiting from it.
He noted that a total of twelve thousand two hundred and fifty-two (12,252) farmers, processors and marketers have been identified and mobilized for the APPEALS project across the three senatorial districts of the state.
He said a total of six thousand five hundred and thirty-six stakeholders (6536) have been trained by the project and this is inclusive of farmers, women and youth empowerment beneficiaries, project staff and collaborating institutions.
He said in a bid to achieve the project development objective of the APPEALS project, there was the need to align with the new direction blueprint of the government of Kogi state to support the developmental objectives of the administration of His Excellency, the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello.
He further stated that in facilitating infrastructural support to agric production and processing clusters.
Dr Ozomata said that 15 aggregation and cottage processing factories are presently being constructed in the three senatorial districts of the state and across the three value chains of Rice, Cashew and cassava, the construction of 13km farm access roads as a last-mile connection to aid the farmers in bringing out their products with ease, the construction of 13 solar-powered boreholes and 9 motorized boreholes and provision of energy to aid agribusiness clusters among others.
On business alliance, he said 14 business alliance opportunities have been created for farmers in Rice, Cashew and Cassava with an effective out-growers scheme connecting farmers to markets to sell their produce at favourable prices.
He noted that the state coordination office has maintained a cordial relationship with relevant stakeholders of the project by keeping them abreast of information on project activities and operations. He said the project facilitated the provision of office equipment and 20 motorcycles to the Kogi State Agricultural Development Project office to boost extension activities in the state.
Responding, the State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barrister Momodu Ozigi said the APPEALS project in the state deserve sincere commendations for the numerous achievements recorded within the period under review and noted that more stakeholders needed to be brought on board to bring about more sense of belonging.
In his remarks, the State Commissioner of Finance, Asiwaju Ashiru Idris praised the project for providing the needed support for farmers in the state and appealed that more farmers be supported in the coming years ahead.