4,000 world bank funded Agro entrepreneurs to help speed up food production in Lagos

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Farmers work on cocoa pods at a farm in Toumodi, Ivory Coast October 13, 2018. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Some 4,000 trained agro entrepreneurs will be leveraging World Bank-assisted Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement And Livelihood Support (APPEALS) project to up food production in Lagos.

Lagos is one of the six states benefitting from the $200 million World Bank project which targets increased food production in Nigeria.

With an estimated population of 21 million residents and population density of 5000 people per square kilometre, Lagos has a high demand for food and other agricultural products.

Indeed, figures from the Lagos State ministry of agriculture show that over one million metric tons of rice are consumed in the state per annum.

Deputy governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat, said on Wednesday that government under the APPEALS project is focusing on three agro value chain where Lagos has advantage in terms of production and market. These include rice production, poultry and aquaculture.

According to him, farmers which include women and youth have been trained under the project and would be assessing the APPEALS grants to raise their level of food production along the identified value chain.

Hamzat, who chairs the State Steering Committee (SSC) of the project, said Wednesday’s meeting considered project’s work plan and budget for the year.

“Right now rice farmers are doing two tons per hectare. That is too small; they need to get it to six tons per hectare. The reality is that we need to encourage our farmers to do better than they are doing now in terms of productivity in these three advantaged agricultural areas and also to improve the understanding of the market so that farmers can live well and we all can also have food to eat, that is why we are committed to the project”, he said.

The state project coordinator of APPEALS, Oluranti Sadge-Oviebo, said APPEALS was collaborating with the Lagos State government to deliver its mandate.

“We want to support farmers to diversify and produce more than what they are currently producing, the government is looking at how to support youths and women to do this,” she said.

Some 1,620 of the agripreneurs which formed the first batch of the targeted beneficiaries of the Lagos APPEALS grants were recently graduated in the state.

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