The World Bank has announced plans to support 10,000 farmers in Kaduna State with modern farming techniques to stimulate productivity.
Dr Yahaya Aminu, the Project Coordinator, World Bank assisted Agro-processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), disclosed this in Kaduna on Tuesday.
Signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NAERLS, Aminu said the project was expected to extend services to 10,000 targeted smallholder farmers in Kaduna State.
He explained that APPEALS would collaborate with the National Agriculture Extension Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) to boost technology driven agriculture among smallholder farmers benefiting from the project in the state.
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“The APPEALS MoU with NAERLS will help to identify areas of intervention by the research agency to fast track implementation of the pilot project in the state,’’ the coordinator said.
According to Aminu, the project is being implemented in six pilot states across the country through a $200 million World Bank grant.
He said the application of various technologies and research results from crop planting, harvesting to processing is expected to increase productivity and market of three selected crops and livestock in Kaduna state.
He said the collaboration with the extension agency would stimulate agriculture in the state “as it will help farmers graduate from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture which is technology and knowledge driven”.
He said the increased production would mean more employment opportunities, poverty reduction and food security among farmers under the project.
The APPEALS project is expected to provide direct support to 10,000 farmers and to reach 50,000 others indirectly within six months, he added.
According to him, with the MoU, the collaboration had moved from conversations to practical effort in providing solution to part of the challenges the smallholder farmers face in the state in increasing productivity, processing and marketing of their products.
“The project would enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains, including Dairy, Ginger and Maize in Kaduna state.
“The World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are implementing the APPEALS programme through a $200 million grant as support to the benefiting states.
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“The benefiting states include Kaduna, Lagos, Kano, Cross River, Kogi and Enugu, and are meant to enhance the agro-processing, productivity and livelihood of the citizens to reduce poverty and create employment opportunities,’’ Aminu said.
He said that the project was in line with the federal government Agricultural Promotion Policy focusing on food security, local production, job creation and economic diversification.
“This will be achieved through supporting farmers’ productivity and their linkage to markets.
“It will also facilitate agricultural products and cottage processing, facilitating farmers and small and medium businesses’ clustering, and connection to infrastructure network and business services,’’ he said.
He said 35 per cent of the beneficiaries would be women, while five to 10 per cent beneficiaries would be people with disabilities.
Prof. Khalid Othman, the Executive Director, NAERLS, said the agency would extend its services for the effective implementation of the APPEALS project and for the benefit of farmers in the country.
Othman said the agency would apply the Adopted Village Unit method for APPEALS to reach the targeted farmers under the project with various technology applications to enhance their productivity.
He said NAERLS is currently supporting more than 200,000 farmers with different extension techniques and modern methods of farming to increase yields. (NAN)