The FGN-World Bank Assisted programme, the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement & Livelihood Improvement Support, APPEALS has held its 2nd project implementation support mission with teams from the World Bank, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, relevant Agencies and Partners, State Project Coordinators and key stakeholders are in attendance.
Declaring the mission open, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu said the Federal Government is totally committed to this project which aims to develop all the value chains of the smallholder farmers who represent the predominant number in food production, adding that the APPEALS programme has the potential to help tackle food insecurity, poverty and unemployment and should therefore be of strategic importance to us all.
Dr. Mu’azu change all the participating states to commit to the success of the project, pointing out that: “We can change the face of agriculture using those value chains, if we all work hard”.
In his opening Remarks and highlights of mission objectives, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the APPEALS project, Dr. Sheu Salau said to the mission team members: “You were all appointed to your various positions based on your requisite competence and experiences to deliver on the project development objectives. You are therefore expected to bring innovation and work hard as a team”.
The National Project Coordinator, APPEALS and Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, FMARD – Dr. Amin Babandi while highlighting the mission guidelines said: “This project is not about the mission team members, it is about the beneficiaries, our farmers who are not in this room. The project is not about meetings or sitting down to talk, it is about strategizing to effectively translate the development objectives of the project to concrete results.”
One unique feature of the Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support – APPEALS project, is the inclusion and mainstreaming of Persons With Disability in all relevant Agric value chains under the project.
In his presentation at a technical session today, Disability and Inclusive Development Expert and Representative of the Joint National Association of Persons With Disability (JONAPWD) – Dr. Adebukola Adebayo who is visually impaired said:
“Agriculture remains about the only answer to the unemployment challenge among Persons With Disability (PWDs). Available data show that PWDs constitute nearly 20% of the Nigerian population, 15million PWDs are aged 18 and above while 80% of this figure live in rural areas. 60% of our PWD adults are engaged in farming and other vocational trades and within the micro and macro scales farming cadres. Persons With Disability are largely excluded in Agric policy frameworks”.
Speaking further, Dr. Adebayo highlighted some of the challenges faced by PWDs to include the areas of access to land, farming input, technologies & mobility aids, finance, capacity building, markets, extension/support services and disability-sensitive policies.
He however applauded the World Bank for always engaging potential beneficiaries in consultations and for the disability inclusion in the APPEALS programme.