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What we want to achieve through APPEALS project – Jobdi, national project coordinator

Mohammed Sani Jobdi is the National Project Coordinator of the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), a Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) World Bank-supported project. Prior to his present appointment, Jobdi was deputy director (Agriculture) and Head of the Agriculture Development and Higher Education Division in the Federal Department of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In this interview with AYO OYOZE BAJE, he spoke on the reason for setting up APPEALS PROJECT; the vision and mission statements; global spread of the project, among other issues. Excerpts:

 

What were the reasons for setting up APPEALS PROJECT, and when and where?

The Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support – (APPEALS) is a Project of the Federal Government of Nigeria, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and supported by the World Bank. The Projectwhich is an Investment Project Financing (IPF) was approved by the World Bank Board on March 23, 2017 and became disbursement effective on May 24, 2018to be implemented for 6 years. The project is expected to close by March 2023. The APPEALS Project is being implemented in six participating states, namely: Cross River, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi and Lagos states.

The Project was set up to support Small and Medium scale farmers in the six participating states, to demonstrate possibilities and opportunities along eleven selected priority agricultural Value Chains(Rice, Wheat, Cassava, Cocoa, Cashew, Aquaculture, Poultry, Maize, Dairy, Ginger and Tomato).The Project broadly aims to support the Federal Government’s effort in strengtheningFood SecurityExport Potential and Livelihood Improvement.

The number of project’s direct beneficiaries is estimated at 60,000 individuals (i.e. 10,000 beneficiaries per state), and 300,000 farm household members as indirect beneficiaries.   It is anticipated that 35 percent of direct beneficiaries (or 21,000 individuals) will be women. By design, the project has a dedicated sub-component to benefit women and youth that will allow them to develop agri-businesses that are expected to create jobs and improve their livelihoods.5percent of the women and youth beneficiaries will be People with Disability and Special Needs.

The project monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and information system includes a gender tracker to ensure adequate documentation on different categories of project beneficiaries.

 

The Project is built on five components namely: 1. Production and Productivity Enhancement 2. Primary Processing, Value Addition; Post-harvest Management and Women & Youth Empowerment 3. Infrastructure Support to Agri-business Clusters 4. Technical Assistance, Knowledge Management and Communication and 5. Project Management and Coordination. 

 

Rationale for setting up the APPEALS Project

 

Although Nigeria has a distinct comparative advantage in agriculture with increased contribution to the GDP, productivity in the sector remains low. The agriculture sector of Nigeria is characterised by low productivity; little and untimely access to inputs; lack of seed funds for establishing agro-processing plants by producer cooperatives; lack of access to supportive infrastructure; challenging business environment; limited access to markets; low level of technology adoption; weak quality control mechanism; and low capacity at all levels. The production system has not developed in terms of significant value addition or processing and has remained a producer of mainly staple crops.

Following the government policy thrust of promoting value chain approach to achieve the Agriculture Promotion Policy goal, the APPEALS project intervention is designed to tackle key constraints, which hinder the development of the value chains, and prevent greater inclusion of small and medium scale farmers in agribusiness supply chains. The project will scale up the Business Alliance model, successfully implemented under the closed World Bank-supported Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP). The Project believes strongly that promoting higher agricultural productivity, especially in smallholders farming, can help set off strong rural dynamics.

The APPEALS project aims at supporting the transition of small subsistence farmers’ production system (farming 1-5 ha) to a market-oriented agricultural undertaking and supporting middle-size farmers (5-10 ha) to address constraints in enhancing their productivity as well as effective participation in value chains.

 

Selection of the priority value chains

 

The project support is focussing on priority value chains as identified in Nigeria’s Agricultural Promotion Policy, APP (The Green Alternative 2016-2020). Priority value chains selected from the APP long list for the purpose of project support are: (i) staples with quick returns and benefits; (ii) products with potential for immediate improvement of food security; (iii) value chains to enhance the national production of crops (rice, maize, cassava and wheat); (iv) products with a potential for export and foreign currency earnings (cocoa and cashew); and (v) short-cycle, quick income generating high value products for livelihood improvement, particularly suitable for women and youth businesses such as horticulture, poultry and aquaculture.

Each participating state is focussing on three promising value chains. This allows for greater impact and a focused approach, with priority given to structuring value chains with potential for geographic and vertical integration across the states. For example, maize can be integrated into the animal feed industry to support the development of the poultry and aquaculture value chains.

 

What are the vision and mission statements?

Project Development Objective (PDO)

The objective of the Project is to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating states.

The PDO will be achieved through supporting farmers’ productivity and their linkage to markets, facilitating consolidation of agricultural products and cottage processing, facilitating farmers and small and medium businesses’ clustering and connection to infrastructure network and business services, providing technical assistance and institutional support both to beneficiaries, federal and state governments in value chain development. Increased productivity, production, and improving processing and marketing of the targeted value chains are expected to foster job creation along the value chains.

PDO-Level result indicators

Increase in productivity of agricultural produce of priority value chains by project’s supported farmers

·      Increase in processed output of priority Value Chains by Project beneficiaries.

·      Number of beneficiaries (separate percentages of beneficiaries, women and youth)

 

 

Which states have benefitted and are still benefitting?

Participating states

The project is being implemented in six (6) states of the federation as follows: Cross-river, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi and Lagos. The value chains being supported by the project in each of the states are:

Cross-River:       Rice, Cocoa and Poultry

Enugu:         Rice, Cashew and Poultry

Kaduna:      Maize, Ginger and Dairy

Kano:           Wheat, Rice and Tomato

Kogi:            Cassava, Cashew and Rice

Lagos:          Rice, Aquaculture and Poultry

Selection of the participating states: Drawing lessons from the World Bank’s engagement at the state level, a three-step approach was adopted for identifying participating states in different stages: (i) starting project implementation with a limited number of states, based on availability of operational knowledge on value chains in the potential participating states, and readiness to fast track project implementation. The five states that satisfy this particular criterion are Lagos, Enugu, Kano, Cross River, and Kaduna, having been supported under the closed Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP) operation, plus Kogi State, which has benefited from the early design in the preparation of this project; (ii) depending on overall project performance and funding availability, the project will expand to cover additional states. Due consideration will be given to collaboration between states, for complementarity along the value chain clusters and corridors.

 

List of Priority Value Chains in Initial Six States/Alignment with the three pillars

S/No

States

VALUE CHAINS

Food Security Export Potentials Livelihood
1 Cross River Rice Cocoa Poultry
2 Enugu Rice Cashew Poultry
3 Kaduna Maize Ginger Dairy
4 Kano Wheat/Rice Tomatoes Tomatoes
5 Kogi Cassava Cashew Rice
6 Lagos Rice Aquaculture Poultry

 

What major challenges has it faced in the country and how were they overcome?

Some of the challenges encountered by the Project so far which are not unusual in projects, include:

–        Delay in commencement occasioned by the need to restructure the Lending Instrument to change the project from being a federal project to state-based project.

–        Security Challenges in some project states like Kaduna & Kogi are being proactively addressed by the Project.

–        The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down project’s field operations. The Project is working around this new challenge by utilising available technologies to strengthen collaborations among the Project Implementation Units, PIUs.

 

Federal Ministries, Agencies & Departments working towards its success

The Project’s National Steering Committee is led by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, with the Honourable Minister or the Permanent Secretary, FMARD as a designated representative (Chairman); Departments under FMARD collaborating for the success of the project are: Federal Department of Agriculture; Department of Agribusiness and Marketing; Department of Planning and Policy Coordination; Department of Fisheries; Finance and Accounts Department; Department of Rural Development; Animal Production and Husbandry Services.

 

Other ministries are: Federal Ministry of Finance; Federal Ministry of Budget & National Planning; Federal Ministry of Environment; Federal Ministry of Woman and Social Affairs; Federal Ministry of Water Resources; Federal Ministry of Works and Representatives of the private sector such as the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG); National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

 

Has it really benefitted the rural farmers; if so, how?

Small and Medium scale farmers in the participating have benefitted immensely from the series of preparatory activities going on towards ensuring increase in annual production along the priority value chains. Here is a summary of achievements in this regard:

·      Climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive technology demonstrations have been conducted in Lagos, Kano and Kaduna States, while other states are at different stages of commencement.

·      Training on the preparation of Value Chain Investment Plans (VCIPs) have been conducted across the states for the relevant stakeholders who would be involved in the preparation of VCIPs.

·      A total of 11 post-harvest processing centres have been identified for either rehabilitation or construction for different clusters across the states and beneficiaries’ needs assessments are on-going.

·      A total of 8,039 Youth and Women have been interviewed and are being trained for empowerment after successful production of bankable business plans under the Project’s Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP). The project aims to empower 10,200 women and youth through the WYEP component.

·      The project has conducted state-wide sensitisation targeting Small and Medium scale farmers in all the Local Government Areas of the participating states. A total of 4,512 production and processing clusters have been identified.

·      A total number of 29,012 beneficiaries comprising of 8,226 women (28.4percent) have been verified and listed for project support in four states (Cross River, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos).

·      Sensitization and profiling have just been concluded for People With Disability and Special Needs.

·      The project is working towards facilitating business alliances among farmer producer groups and off-takers in the participating states. Identification and verification of viable existing off-takers in the eleven value chains of the project was carried out.

·      Infrastructural interventions such as access roads, and solar power energy areas are being identified in the production and processing clusters of the six implementing states.  This component will come fully on board when the clusters are operational and functional.

 

How have issues of insecurity via terrorism/banditry affected project operations?

The Project is conscious of the potential threat of terrorism and banditry especially the Farmers/Herders clashes and has taken proactive steps to integrating herdsmen into the local farming activities in some states, to foster peaceful co-existence and mutual collaborations.

Staffing/Capacity building and impact on the rural farmers

For effective implementation, the project has continued to improve the capacity of project staff and beneficiaries through trainings and workshop across the states. Below are some of the trainings conducted so far:

 

·      Project Facilitation Trainings for all staff have been conducted by the Project

·      Capacity Building of farmers/Out-growers on Environmental and Social Issues

·      Capacity Building on the Preparation of Business Plans, Efficient Record Keeping

·      Staff have been trained on the use of GPS/GIS for tracking of project intervention and beneficiaries.

·      Bank Financial Management & Disbursement Procedures etc

·      Mandatory training on Gender-Based Violence (GBV)

·      International trainings on Strategic Project Management and Social Safety Nets

·      Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop in collaboration with the FAO

·      Basic Procurement Management training in collaboration with Ibadan Business School.

 

Profile of the National Project Coordinator

The Project is headed by the National Project Coordinator, NPC operating from the National Coordination Office in Abuja with oversight function to the participating states. For detailed information on the NPC, please set attached profile.

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