From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
The Kogi State Government has empowered 1,700 women and youths in the state with two million naira grant under the Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project, (APPEALS), a World Bank assisted programme to boost their living conditions.
The event took place over the weekend during an interaction session between the beneficiaries and other relevant stakeholders with the state government held at the Government House, Lokoja.
The State Governor, Yahaya Bello in his remarks mentioned that his government plans on changing the narrative of the state from being a civil servant dominated domain to a much more productive one through the instrumentality of agriculture, entrepreneur, and industrialization.
Governor Bello pointed out that youth and women empowerment and job creation were on the front burner of his administration’s blueprint and he was excited to see that the majority of the beneficiary were into these categories.
The Governor also expressed his delights on the fact that beneficiaries would also be trained in how they could improve productivity in the areas of Cashew, Cassava and Rice farming as well as other agribusinesses like poultry, fishery.
He noted strongly that through the unbiased selection process which has ensured that every ethnic was well represented as beneficiary, his government was also affirming the EBIGO message.
The Governor asserted that the New Direction Government planned to utilise the several available agro schemes and programmes by the Federal Government and international bodies to gainfully empower the people of the state as such would be ensured by his government’s prompt payment of counterpart funds.
He opined that the state in the nearest years would stop exportation of Cashew, cassava and rice farm produce as it would establish the facility to produce finished products from these variables, feed its people and also export same to boost its economy.
Governor Bello charged the beneficiary to utilize the fund appropriately for the purpose which it was given while he also assured others of further openings to benefit in time to come.
The Governor used the medium to ask the stakeholders in the agricultural sector to at the November 16 polls vote for the All Progressive Congress so as to further enjoy more progressive dividends in the sector as against those who are hell-bent on holding the state to ransom.
Speaking at the event, Dr Sanni Abdullahi Ozomata, State coordinator Appeals project noted that the programs aimed at achieving three major aim which included, creating Livelihood support, ensuring Food security and bringing about Foreign exchange through food exportation.
He noted that it also has as its agenda to enhance the productivity of small and medium-scale farmers in the area of cassava, cashew and rice production and within its first phase focus on empowering women and youths which is one of the very important focus of the government in its blueprint.
The State Coordinator notified that the Appeals program through its training was going to also fill the relevant knowledge gap vacuum for farmers in order to assist in enhancing productivity.