The federal government has started a $200 million World Bank assisted project facilitation training for its staff under the agro-processing, productivity enhancement and livelihood improvement support project (APPEALS).
Amin Babandi, the acting permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), made this known at the opening ceremony of the week-long training in Lagos on Monday.
Babandi, who was represented by Salisu Garba, the APPEALS project operations manager, said the training was part of the implementation process of the project.
He said that the training was meant to equip members of staff that would assist in seeing through the implementation of the project.
According to him, while implementation of the project has commenced in six states at different levels, the training is to further equip staff of the project to ensure efficiency.
He said that 60,000 beneficiaries were being targeted in the six states with each of the states having 10,000 beneficiaries with emphasis on women and youths.
“We have many interventions that will consume about $72 million of the project to empower women and youths in the agric business.
“About 60,000 people are expected to be direct beneficiaries of the project across the six states, meaning 10,000 per state but you know for every one direct beneficiary, there are other indirect beneficiaries.
“The project is looking at 11 value chains including maize, wheat, cocoa, poultry, aquaculture and horticulture. Each state is concentrating on three value chains that they have comparative advantage on.
“Women and youths are free to pick from any of the value chains even if they do not have it as a key value chain in that state,” he said.
Babandi said that the six participating states had signed subsidiary loan agreements, while the project staff meant to implement the project had been selected based on a transparent process of recruitment.
According to him, “We have started implementing the project at different levels because some states started before others.
“The capacity of the staff is now being built on how to study the documents to know how to implement the project. They have undergone some training before now, this will further build their capacity.
“They have done all the necessary advocates at the state level, sensitising all the beneficiaries of the project to know what APPEALS is all about so that they can key in.
“This project is being put in place to build on what the World Bank commercial agric did in seven years, between 2009 and 2016.”
The project operations manager noted that besides sensitisation, demonstration of new technologies required for the project had be