The Plateau State Government has appealed to the Federal Government to lend its support towards improving agro-processing in the state.
Governor Simon Lalong made the call while receiving a delegation of the Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS).
The leader of the delegation, Dr Ahmed Ajayi, said the project was to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and to improve value addition along priority value chains in participating states.
He revealed that the APPEALS Project would soon be extended to 12 other states, including Plateau, after conducting its mid-term review in December.
Ajayi said the project would leverage already existing structures in the state for the expansion.
Lalong, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to support the state in the processing of potatoes, tomatoes and other perishable farm produce in the state.
According to him, agro-processing was one of the major challenges of the agriculture sector in the state.
Despite being the leading producer of potatoes and tomatoes in the country, the state was handicapped in the area of processing for export, Lalong added.
He noted that agriculture was the largest employer of labour in the state and that Federal Government’s intervention at this time was timely and would boost productivity.
“I am passionate about agriculture. I thank the Federal government for introducing different schemes especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are using agriculture to take our youths off the streets through the Plateau Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (PLASMEDA).
“Youths want to be trained to start up their businesses instead of waiting for government jobs,’’ he added.
Governor Lalong in 2019 had flagged off the construction of a potato processing lab. The project, he noted was to upscale the state’s production capacity through a reduction in potato blight cases.
Similarly, in 2017, the state government signed a pact with an investment management and advisory firm, BlackPace Africa, to upscale potato production in Plateau State and set up a potato processing facility in Jos, the state capital.
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