The Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) in Kaduna State says it will incorporate more cooperative societies within existing clusters.
Dr Yahaya Aminu, Project Coordinator, APPEALS, said this during a supervision visit to agri-business clusters supported by the project in Zaria on Saturday.
He said that the integration would effectively address the objective of achieving the target of 10,000 direct beneficiaries and 50,000 indirect beneficiaries of the project.
Aminu said that the project was encouraging more cooperative societies to come up within an existing cluster to boost the concentration of farmers in a particular area.
He said that the concentration of farmers within a cluster would enable the project to support the farmers with infrastructural facilities such as roads, aggregation centres and other facilities.
“We have seen that the farmers are committed; they have shown interest in the project and they are also anticipating very high yield. Many farmers, who used to harvest one and a half tonnes, are now anticipating four to five tonnes of harvests.
“We have also seen their challenges, which are associated with infestation by weeds and pests that are difficult to control; we have also seen that they need more training and capacity building.
“We are going to continue with the training and capacity building to ensure that they maximise the benefits of the project and also ensure that the benefits of APPEALS project extend to indirect beneficiaries,’’ he said.
Aminu said that the project would soon commence training for the farmers on how to enhance records keeping.
Earlier, Hajiya Halima Lawal, the Kaduna state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, described the exercise as very encouraging.
Lawal said: “We went round a couple of farms in Zaria Local Government; we also visited a cluster and six cooperatives. Majority of the farms are doing very well.
“They got assistance, in terms of seeds, fertilisers, good agricultural practices. We also saw that the farmers took all the advice and we hope their yield will double,’’ she said.
According to her, the project is doing well in Kaduna State, when compared to other states.
The APPEALS project is a World Bank supported initiative, with the mandate of Kaduna State Government, to support farmers in their production, processing and marketing of produce.