The World Bank Mid-Term Review (MTR) and Sixth Implementation Support Mission for the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Projectwas conducted from February21-26 2021.The mission led by World Bank Senior Agriculture Economist and Task Team Leader of the APPEALS Project, Dr. Adetunji Oredipe was undertaken in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and staff of the National and State Coordination Offices of the Project, including representatives of NGOs. 

Objectives of the Mission  

The main objective of the mission was to review implementation progress across all project components to ensure that the Project was on track to achieve its stated objectivesin the first half of project life; provide implementation support to the project teams in all areas of critical concern; and agree with State Governments and the National Coordination Office on the required actions and activities (including, where necessary, any restructuring or streamlining of the project activities and intervention packages) that would further facilitate the achievement of the development objectives over the remaining life of the project.           

The Mid-Term Review (MTR) allows the formulation of timely and workable solutions to implementation challenges that may have been encountered during the first half of the project so that implementation remains on course to achieving the Project Development Objective (PDO). This is especially true of a multi-year, multi-component and multi-institution development project, where a lot of implementation variables come into play.  

Overall Project Implementation Status 

Satisfactory progress has been accomplished towards the achievement of the PDO.  The project is now at an accelerated implementation trajectory and has already achieved some of its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  With additional actions agreed during this MTR, the project is poised to significantly contribute to enhancing production and productivity of the selected crops included under the project as well as improving the income of project beneficiaries. Major achievements recorded include: 

Significant increase in productivity – an average increase of 48.9% disaggregated among targeted commodities was recorded. Cassava increased productivity from a baseline of 15mt/ha to 33.33mt/ha (122.2%), maize from 2.52mt/ha to 3.46mt/ha (37.3%); ginger 11.86mt/ha to 16.41mt/ha (38.4%); cocoa from 0.61mt/ ha to 0.72mt/ha (18.0%); and rice from average yield of 2.86mt/ha to 5.5mt/ha (92.3%).  The project also recorded increased productivity of tomato from 22.0 mt/ha to 43.0mt/ha (95.5%); wheat from 1.8mt/ha to 2.16mt/ha (20%).  Aquaculture with an average baseline of 100kg/m3 to 130 kg/m3 (30%) and dairy from 1.31litres/cow/day to 1.79litres/cow/day (36.6%). Cashew productivity rose from 0.5mt/ha to 0.7mt/ha (40%). 

Productivity of processed products: This increased on the average for the value chains at 47.7%, with milled rice moving from 3.2mt/CIG/Day to 4.9mt/CIG./Day (53.1%). Processed Cassava (Garri) moved from 1.7mt/CIG/Day to 2.35mt/CIG/Day (38.2%). Processed fish from 0.78mt/CIG//Day to 1.02mt/CIG/Day (30.8%). Processed wheat (Gurasa – Local Pizza) from 86mt/CIG/Day to 145mt/CIG/Day (68.6%). 

Considerable production volume of value chains: Cassava (20,005MT), rice (29,404.69MT), maize (3,261MT), ginger (15,374.59MT), and cocoa (129.14MT). Others include poultry (6,661.05MT), catfish (1,250MT), tilapia (97.5MT), wheat (2,160MT), tomato (14,520) were added to the national food basket. 

Increased access to market through linkagerecorded with 85 off-takers doing business (input supply to and output demand from participating farmers). 

The Project reached a total of 39,209 direct beneficiaries (60.84% male and 39.16% females) and about 196,045 indirect beneficiaries who benefited in a total of 87 Business Alliances and out-grower schemes established across the six participating states (Cross River – 19, Enugu-5, Kaduna–16, Kano-25, Kogi-4, Lagos -18,).  

Additional impact includes: (i). Empowerment of 8,078 youth and women in the areas of providing them with Business, Technical and Life Skills Training, Support to business planning and facilitation of business name registration (with Corporate Affairs Commission); Start-up grants to establish a commercially viable business; and Mentorship to provide the beneficiaries with continued support from established agribusiness entrepreneurs. (ii). Linking 25 agribusiness clusters to infrastructure such as boreholes, tube wells and box culvert across the participating States. (iii). Demonstration of 96 improved technologies (50% of which are climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive) and which have been adopted by project beneficiaries in the 1,268 VCIPs across eleven (11) priority value chains. (iv). Establishment of Grievance Redress Committees both at State and Local Government levels and equipped with complaint boxes, grievance logbook as well as dedicated toll-free lines which have settled grievances amicably among the Project stakeholders. 

Project Relevance 

Relevance of the PDO:  

The Project Development Objective of the APPEALS is to enhance the agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating States. The PDO was adjudged as still relevant to the country’s aspirations and the agriculture sector.  The current government was in place when the Project started, and it is still in line with the APP and ERGP of the Federal Government.  

Basically, government aspirations include, but not limited to, food security with greater food self-sufficiency, diversification of the economy away from crude oil and youth employment. This project is contributing directly to producing food locally through import substitution.  The diversification of the national economy away from almost complete dependence on the crude oil sector is being achieved through enhancing the contribution of agriculture to the overall economy. In addition, the Project is contributing to youth employment through the Women and Youth Empowerment Programme. Judging from all these evidences, the MTR determined that the PDO is still adjudged relevant. 

Continuous Alignment with Government Program 

The project supports targeted priority value chains as identified in Agricultural Promotion Policy-The Green Alternative (APP-2016-2020) of this current government, through facilitating business alliances, promotion of greater farmers-agri-business linkages, and support to critical infrastructure in value chain development. 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 potentials 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. Furthermore, the APP 2020 was built upon the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA),and its key policy themes of (i) supporting productivity enhancements; (ii) crowding in private sector investment; and (iii) institutional realignment of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) with a focus on improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria’s agriculture space. 

In addition to the federal government, the APPEALS Project is well aligned to the priorities of the 6 States participating in the project. 

Progress Towards Achievement Of the PDO  

Increase in productivity of agricultural produce of priority value chain by project supported farmers  

Under APPEALS Project, the project outcome indicator for productivity increase was 35% for each value chain. And as at the MTR (February 2021), all the value chains have surpassed the 35% targeted yield increase from baseline figures. Across all the value chains, there was a 48.9% increase in average yield. This is above the average of 35% targeted at the onset of the project. 

Increase in processed output of the priority value chains by project beneficiaries 

A minimum of 40% increase in processed products was expected for all the value chains. As at MTR, data from processed cassava, rice, aquaculture, and wheat showed an average increase of 47.7%. This is higher than the expected increase in processed output of value chains of 40%.  

Contribution to poverty reduction and empowerment of women and other youth  

The Project has empowered 8,078 youth and women with Business, Technical and Life Skills training, support to business planning, facilitation of business name registration (with Corporate Affairs Commission); Start-up grant to establish a commercially viable business; and Mentorship to provide the beneficiaries with continued support from established agribusiness entrepreneurs. The WYEP beneficiaries are open to choosing any other value chains, but within the selected priority value chains for the Project. This flexibility has enabled the youth to select commodity of high sustainability with quick returns on investment and high potential for foreign exchange generation/wealth creation. 

Post Mid-term Period:  

As we move into the second half of Project life, the team is poised to empower more beneficiaries, establish more business alliances, collaborate with more institutions/partners, execute rural infrastructure etc. in order to deliver on the productivity enhancement mandate of the Project. 

-Aishat A. Onusi (Mrs) 

National Communication Specialist 

For: National Project Coordinator