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Cross River State is on the brink of losing millions of dollars from the World Bank funded APPEALS Project if the Governor, Professor Ben Ayade refuses to approve payment of billions of naira to beneficiaries this week. The funds that is meant for 1700 youths and women from the State as well as Corporative Organizations is expected to boost Agricultural development targeted at affecting the lives of over 50,000 Cross Riverians.

APPEALS stands for Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support, a Federal Government of Nigeria FGN-World Bank Assisted programme.

The development objective of the APPEALS Project for Nigeria is to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating states.

The project has five components.

(1) Production and productivity enhancement is to increase total supply of the targeted priority value chains with a purpose to ensure consistent, reliable and timely stream of produce to the markets.

(2) Primary processing, value addition, post-harvest management and women and youth empowerment will support the reduction of post-harvest losses, facilitate the consolidation of produce and primary processing by farmers’ cooperative societies and small and medium-scale enterprises in project intervention areas, focusing on gender-sensitive activities along the core segment of the value chains (production, processing, marketing) and ancillary businesses (agro-dealership, haulage, packaging, business management, etc.);

(3) Infrastructure support to agri-business clusters aim at improving physical environment (last mile connection to roads and utilities) for agro-industrial and cottage processing units, located in agri-business clusters with significant potential for agro-processing and greater inclusion of small to medium size farmers into the agri-business supply chains through the business alliances;

(4) Technical assistance, knowledge management and communication is to build capacity of the project staff and partner in the relevant areas of the value chain development, harness the knowledge acquired and generated under the project.

(5) Project management and coordination is to ensure effective management and coordination of the project for proper accomplishment of project related goals and the achievement of the PDO.

It is important to note that Cross River State is among the six pilot states including Enugu, Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna and Kano states selected for this project. While almost every other state has since commenced payments of the grant to beneficiaries, Cross River State is yet to pay her own beneficiaries. The reason why the Governor is withholding the payment is not yet known even when about half of the beneficiaries are from Obudu, his Local Government Area. 

Information available indicates that the inability of the state government to release money meant for the project to beneficiaries will attract the blacklisting of the state from the project in the next few days. This is even more worrisome as neighboring Akwa Ibom and River States are rumoured to be lobbying to take over the project from CRS.

Expectedly, the leadership of Young Progressives Party (YPP) is worried because the targeted beneficiaries are largely youths and women who happen to be prime members of our political constituency. We are therefore giving the Governor 48 hours to approve the release of the funds to beneficiaries to avoid the impending blacklisting from World Bank. We are equally concern about the fact that the state will still be made to pay the long term loan whether or not the money is accessed.

We call on the Governor to immediately approve payment of this grant to beneficiaries to boost the economy of the state. Imagine what this billions of naira can do at this time to the economy of our state.

StopWeaponisingHunger

LetMoneyGoRound

Comrade Anthony Bissong Attah

State Chairman (Chief Servant)

Young Progressives Party (YPP) CRS. Told news men in calabar.

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