Boosting rural farmers’productivity

The World Bank, in colloboration with the Federal and the Lagos State Governments, is working to assist farmers improve their productivity, writes DANIELESSIET.
For many farmers in rural areas, life is difficult.
Factors such as poor infrastructure and limited access to business-support services limit their viability to grow more food.
That is why they look forward to a sustainable solution to rural poverty.
Happily, succour has come their way. The World Bank is partnering the Federal Government and the Lagos State government to assist farmers overcome  their problems.
Speaking in Lagos during a  stakeholders’sensitisation workshop on Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project, the Commissioner  for Agriculture, Toyin Sarau, represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya, said the  government is determined to improve food production through  good quality seeds, poultry and aquaculture.
APPEALS Project is  a Federal Government/World Bank agricultural initiative aimed at improving agricultural productivity of small and medium scale (SMEs) commercial farmers.
According to him, such investments could help farmers in producing more food.
Getting agric
back on track
The commissioner said small-scale farmers not only need improved access to markets, information and services, but also training in better cropping, improved soil and water management, seed multiplication and storage.
He said rural women are as enterprising as their male counterparts, if given equal opportunity and tools.
Through training and skills development, the state Project Coordinator, APPEALS, Mrs Oluranti Oviebo, said rural women could play a greater role in the development of their communities and boost the local economy.
She said the project seeks to increase the number of rural enterprises that generate profit, growth and employment opportunities, with access to markets and financial support to the smallholder farmers.
Oviebo said the project is aimed at achieving poverty reduction and women’s empowerment.
She said the project recognised the value of women’s participation in economic activities and as active actors in the community.
She said the project supports micro and small enterprises and improvement of rural infrastructure to link communities to markets, promote agricultural productivity and farm business enterprises.
With a focus on women and youths, she  said APPEALS will work with households.
Cluster farming
Concerned with low agricultural growth rate and low levels of farm income, the the state introduced cluster-based farming.
The cluster-based approach is aimed at forming a consolidated cultivable holding dedicated to specific agriculture produce, including poultry, aquaculture and rice.
Not only will it help in increasing farmers’ income, but also help in reducing the post-harvest loss.
Oviebo said the project  supports cluster farming  for agriculture and food processing.
She said cluster-approach would be beneficial to farmers and markets.
She said the project will  assist  cooperatives and group to establish farming clusters where men and women farmers can deliver their crops in bulk and receive payment at a later time.
How to participate
Participating farmers are expected to submit a simple business plan if they want support from the project.