The World Bank and Federal Government-sponsored Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihoods Improvement Support (APPEALS) project says the initiative has lifted over 55,000 Nigerians out of poverty.
Mohammed Jobdi, the National Project Coordinator of APPEALS, disclosed this during the inspection of the level of implementation of the project in Enugu State.
Officials of World Bank, FG and APPEAL were among the team that visited the state.
The team visited poultry processing centre at Amechi Awkunanaw and rice mill processing centre at Nara in Enugu South and Nkanu East council areas of Enugu state, respectively.
The Co-ordinator said that the project started in 2017 in Nigeria with five components, adding that more than 55,000 beneficiaries were supported.
“I can categorically tell you that more than 55,000 beneficiaries have been supported,” he said.
He listed the beneficiaries to include farmers, producers, processors and marketers, as well as youths and women whom they had empowered through capacity building.
The national coordinator said the World Bank/FG support project was being implemented in six states, namely; Cross River, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi and Lagos states.
He, however, disclosed that the project would come to closure by September.
Mr Jobdi said their mission in Enugu State was to access the level of implementation in different participating states and Enugu State was one of them.
Mr Jobdi, who rated Enugu state high on project performance, said, “We have visited two centres in Amechi and Nara and what we saw is encouraging and they assured us that the necessary machine would be installed in two weeks for completion.
“We have 15 aggregation and Cottage Centres with facilities that were proposed for Enugu State.
“Under the women and youth empowerment program, about 1,700 people had also been supported in each participating state in which five per cent of the physically challenged were trained because social inclusion is very important,” he said.
The World Bank task team leader, Manieve Sene, said they were in Enugu state to get the beneficiaries’ success stories as well as their challenges and how to tackle them.
Ihuoma Eze, the APPEALS project coordinator, Enugu State, while commending World Bank and FG for extending APPEALS project to Enugu state, said the project had touched many lives.
She explained that World Bank and FG had invested N350 million on APPEALS project in Enugu State to support farmers in the value chain of poultry, rice and cashew production.
“We have 15 number aggregation and Cottage Centres in each senatorial zones of the state.
“We have in Amechi Awkunanaw, Nara, 9th Mile, Udi, Orba, Ezeagu, Adani, Ehamufu and others,” she said.
She thanked Gov. Peter Mbah for his support and pledged to sustain the project in the state.
Some of the beneficiaries, while thanking World Bank/ FG for the project, promised to maintain the centres and machines to ensure food production in Enugu state and Nigeria in general.
Chinyere Iwundu, a member of Divine Co-operative, Amechi Awkwunaw, said the project had empowered them and added value to their lives.
“The facilities provided for us will enable us to store our farm produce and sell them later when the price is high,” she said.