No fewer than 8,520 persons have so far benefitted from the World Bank-assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project in Enugu State.
The Enugu State Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, disclosed this during a two-day World Bank 9th Implementation Support Mission held in Enugu on Tuesday.
According to her, the project has empowered Small Medium Enterprises totalling 3,478, Women and Youths Empowerment Programme (WYEP) and 1,700 farmers.
She explained that APPEALs project had impacted greatly on the agricultural sector in Enugu State.
Ezeilo said: “Many farmers in the state have also benefited through capacity training, technology demonstration, construction of aggregation and processing centres.
The deputy governor said the support by the APPEALS Project had impacted farmers in enhancing their productivity across the three priority value chains of rice, cashew and poultry.
She added that 15 aggregation/cottage processing centres were currently being constructed across various locations in the state.
“I wish to assure the World Bank Task Team Leader for APPEALS, Manievel Sene, that we are doing everything possible to ensure construction of 13.3 kilometers access roads.
“We are working to fast track the implementation of energy and more,” she said.
In his remark, the National Project Coordinator, APPEALS, Alhaji Mohammed Jobdi, said the plenary was aimed at interacting and reviewing what APPEALS Project had done.
He explained that the gathering would offer them an opportunity to interact with experts on what the state had achieved and address issues facing the project in the state from achieving its objective.
Speaking also, Sene reiterated World Bank interest to support the project in the state.
“I am proud of APPEALS in Enugu State and we will continue to ensure that the project succeeds in the state,” he said.
Earlier, the Acting State Coordinator, Enugu APPEALS, Mrs Ihuoma Eze, said the current project implementation status across the components would be reviewed and opened for advice from the team.
This, she said, would help to achieve the project development objectives to improve agricultural productivity, including Small and Medium Scale farmers to enhance value.
“The implementation will also enhance agricultural value chains of poultry, rice and cashew,” she said.
The coordinator explained that the project activities of APPEALS was in line with the agenda of the Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team from the federal ministries of agriculture, finance, budget and national planning and others attended the programme.