Following World Bank’s disbursement of $200 million grant for the purpose of optimizing agribusiness, the Lagos State Commissioner of Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, has advised youths to explore the opportunities presented by the grant.
He said this while shortlisted applicants were being screened for the commencement of the grant known as APPEALS (Agro-processing, productivity enhancement and livelihood improvement support). He added that agriculture and agribusiness was the key to addressing unemployment and increase the development quotient of the youths in the country.
Lawal highlighted the efforts of the Lagos State Government in the last 20 years to get more youths involved in the agricultural industry. He explained that the government on its own part would develop the agricultural value chain by providing technical assistance, capacity development and knowledge expansion to the businesses run by youth.
Why this matters: By 2030, global need for water and food will double. It is very pivotal for the agri-businesses to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, as well as improve land and soil quality. Therefore the World Bank’s grant earmarked for that purpose is expected to be utilized. In return, agribusiness contributes to the economy by boosting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), creating employment and eliminating food wastage.
Lawal reiterated the importance of involving youths in agriculture and agribusiness, noting that it is a priority for the state government. He also added that this is the government’s way of promoting youth employment and self-employment as part of the development momentum.
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The goal for APPEALS is to increase productivity and improve processing and marketing of targeted value chains, which included rice, poultry and aquaculture for Lagos.
APPEALS is an abbreviation for agro-processing, productivity enhancement and livelihood improvement support which is geared at helping agricultural businesses thrive in Nigeria while optimizing agribusiness for achieving prospects.
The project, initiated by the World Bank targets 60,000 beneficiaries and 360,000 farm household members as indirect beneficiaries. Part of its sub-component is to benefit women and youth that would allow them to develop agri-businesses that are expected to create jobs and improve their livelihoods. States benefitting from its projects are Cross River, Enugu, Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna, and Kano States.