The federal government -World Bank assisted Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) has kicked off in Lagos with a commitment of inclusion and mainstreaming of Persons With Disability in all relevant agricultural value chains under the project.
Speaking at a technical session, Disability and Inclusive Development Expert and Representative of the Joint National Association of Persons With Disability (JONAPWD) – Dr. Adebukola Adebayo who is visually impaired said:
“Agriculture remains about the only answer to the unemployment challenge among Persons With Disability (PWDs).
“Available data show that PWDs constitute nearly 20% of the Nigerian population, 15million PWDs are aged 18 and above while 80% of this figure live in rural areas. 60% of our PWD adults are engaged in farming and other vocational trades and within the micro and macro scales farming cadres. Persons With Disability are largely excluded in Agric policy frameworks”.
Speaking further, Dr. Adebayo highlighted some of the challenges faced by PWDs to include the areas of access to land, farming input, technologies & mobility aids, finance, capacity building, markets, extension/support services and disability-sensitive policies.
He however applauded the World Bank for always engaging potential beneficiaries in consultations and for the disability inclusion in the APPEALS programme.
Speaking earlier while declaring declaring open, the APPEALS project implementation support, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu said:
“The Federal Government is totally committed to this project which aims to develop all the value chains of the smallholder farmers who represent the predominant number in food production.
He emphasized that the APPEALS programme has the potential to help the nation tackle food insecurity, poverty and unemployment and should therefore be of strategic importance to everyone.
Dr Miami charged all the participating states, who are the actual implementer to commit to the success of the project.
“The Federal Government is only supporting and coordinating. We should all work hard to change the face of agriculture using those value chains”. – He added.
Also speaking, National Project Coordinator, APPEALS and Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Dr. Amin Babandi who highlighted the mission guidelines at the event said:
“This project is not about the mission team members, it is about the beneficiaries, our farmers who are not in this room. The project is not about meetings or sitting down to talk, it is about strategizing to effectively translate the development objectives of the project to concrete results.”
The Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement & Livelihood Improvement Support, APPEALS project implementation support mission brought together, teams from the World Bank, FMARD, relevant Agencies and Partners, State Project Coordinators and key stakeholders.