From Magnus Eze 

Collaborative efforts between the Enugu State Government and the World Bank has resulted in the disbursement of N3.4 billion to 1,700 farmers under the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project. 

Acting Coordinator of the project in Enugu, Ihuoma Eze, stated this, Tuesday, during the ceremony marking the flag-off of implementation of the Women and Youth Empowerment (WYEP) component of the project. 

Eze said that the WYEP programme which began in 2019 with a call for expression of interest, had a total submission of 29,707 which was pruned down to 1700 women, youths and persons with disabilities across the 17 local government areas of the state. “While 55.8 percent of the beneficiaries are women and girls, PWDs make up 5 percent of the beneficiaries,” she explained, adding that training was also conducted for beneficiaries along chosen value chains of poultry, rice, cashew and cassava.

She added that there was also training along the segments of production, processing and marketing. 

Eze noted that while an individual enterprise accessed input grants worth N2million, group enterprises comprising two to five individuals per group accessed between N4m to N10million each. 

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“With the support of the state government, the guidance of the national coordination office and interventions of the WB, we have been able to record 57 percent success in the implementation of WYEP,” Eze stated. 

National Project Coordinator of APPEALS Nigeria, Mohammed Jobdi thanked the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for providing the counterpart fund needed for the project. 

Mohammed, who was represented by the National Women, Youth and Livelihood Specialist, Ronke Akanni called on beneficiaries of the programme to contribute to job creation and food security in the state.

Remarking, Deputy Governor of Enugu State, Cecilia Ezeilo, who represented the Governor said that the APPEALS project falls in line with the objective of the state government in agriculture.

She noted that the state government was committed to food security and massive job creation. Ezeilo said: “The state government has been committed to food security through marked improvement in agriculture and agro allied processing as well as creation of massive employment for its citizens, hence the APPEALS project is considered a major vehicle for the achievement of this government objective.”