Why we’re committed to APPEALS project, by Ugwuanyi
Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, said, yesterday, that his administration decided to commit to the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project to achieve food sufficiency and employment in the state.
Speaking during the flag-off ceremony of the implementation of Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) at Okpara Square, Enugu, the governor stated that the project, which began in 2019, had empowered 1,700 persons, including women, youths and persons with disability drawn from the 17 councils of the state.
Represented by his Deputy, Cecilia Ezeilo, he stated that the programme, being assisted by the World Bank and implemented in five other states of Nigeria, including Lagos, Cross River, Kaduna, Kano and Kogi states, was in line with the four-point agenda of his government.
“The programme is a major vehicle to realising food security, empowerment of youths and women in Enugu. We are committed to the programme, because, through it, we have been able to pull over 1,700 beneficiaries out of poverty. They have received grants to engage in various agro-processing businesses like cassava, poultry, rice, aquaculture and cassava. We will continue to invest in programmes that will empower and make our people self-reliant to reduce poverty,” the governor assured.
Acting Project Coordinator, APPEALS project, Enugu State, Ihuoma Eze, stated that the programme received 29,707 valid applications when it was floated, adding that after rigorous, competitive and transparent selection process, it was trimmed down to 1,700 beneficiaries.
She noted that of the figure, 55.8 per cent were women and girls, while five per cent were persons with disability and special needs.
She stressed that beneficiaries were made to undergo a two-week business and technical training along value chains of poultry, rice, cashew and cassava.
She added: “Beneficiaries were further assisted by the project with development of a fundable and viable Business Investment Plan (BIP), which have all received clearance from the World Bank and start-up grants for the establishment of agro-businesses as contained in the cleared business plan all lodged into their respective corporate accounts.
“It is interesting to note that although an individual enterprise assessed an approximate N2 million each, group enterprises, comprising two – five individuals per group, assessed between N4 million and N10 million.”