Operation manager, Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project, Salisu Garba has said that Kaduna State tops other six States with 75,000 applicants wanting to access the Agric loan.
However, on Tuesday officials of the project commenced interview for 2,885 shortlisted beneficiaries to select 1,700 women and youth, including people With disabilities who have 5% reservations out of the overall applications received.
According to Garba, it was a new project built on commercial agriculture, saying that the project is taking place in six states, Lagos, Cross River, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano and Kogi states, but Kaduna is the highest with 75,000 forms collected, 45,000 were filed and submitted.
“The applicants were screened based on the requirements; academic qualification, age, residence in the state. Then we decided to prune the number using random sampling to 2,885. We are looking for 1,615 from the able bodied people to arrive at 1,700.
Addressing the applicants on Tuesday in Kaduna, the Operation Manager, said that the screening/ interview process is in four stages, after which the successful applicants will be captured with their data stored both at APPEALS and in the World Bank data desk.
“We set aside 5% slot for people with disability and special needs. We decided that this intervention in agric business should be different, that they too should benefit. Many of them are jobless but educated, we want to give them the benefit.”
Also speaking, National Women, Youth and Livelihood Specialist, Elder Ronke Akanni said that the applicants will be interviewed after which the successful ones will be expected to come up with their value chain investment plan to be funded by Appeals Project. The support will be given through value inputs.
“Kaduna state government has promised to support the Appeals Project more. We expect that at the end of the six years’ project they would be able to sustain the programme.”
Kaduna state Appeals Coordinator, Dr. Aminu Yahaya, said that Kaduna state government is interested in the Appeals project because “the object is to promote food production, diversification of economy, create jobs, attract investment and improve livelihood of the people.
“The beneficiaries should utilise whatever they are going to get from the programme to become job entrepreneurs, agric entrepreneurs,” he added.