Evaluating WAAPP innovative platform for employment generation

West Africa Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP Nigeria) commenced it operations in Nigeria some times back with the intention of sponsoring and disseminating innovative technologies to farmers as part of efforts to enhance their productivity, reduced post-harvest losses and increase food security, John Oba, in this piece looked at some innovations promoted by the projects.
WAAPP-Nigeria has been promoting innovation platforms as avenues for disseminating improved technologies to key actors in some commodity value chains since 2013.

The project has successfully inaugurated platforms (IPs) at the national level mostly as far back as in 2013 on Cassava/Yam,Aquaculture,Rice,Maize and Sorghum.While WAAPP-Nigeria encouraged the formation of some platforms,the cassava Innovation Platform and the Agricultural Innovation Platform had been in existence in Abia state south-east of Nigeria even before the inception of the project.
WAAPP-Nigeria had therefore got engaged with the platforms  to strengthening its operations because Innovation Platforms are oftentimes defined as ‘spaces for learning and change’ whereby group of individuals,from different backgrounds and interest,that could include farmers,food processors,traders,government officials,researchers among others come together to diagnose problems,identify opportunities and find ways of achieving their goals which they may also articulate and implement activities as platform or coordinate activities by individual members.
One of the major examples of WAAPP-Nigeria assisted platforms is the Value Chain Platform (VCIP) which is a physical or virtual forum of relevant stakeholders established to facilitate interaction, learning and joint actions relating to commodity value chain hence triggering participatory diagnosis of problems, joint explorations of opportunities and solutions aimed at increasing generation and diffusion of agricultural innovations in line with four components of WAAPP, which focus on GENERATION ,DISSEMINATION and ADOPTION of improved technologies to boost agricultural productivity in the country.

This indeed will enhance economic benefits to the programme participants and by extension the macro economy at both national and regional levels.
It is important to note that, it is on record that the early six months leading to September 2014,the project appointed a Technical Support Team(TST) to help accelerate the formation of organizational and management structure of WAAPP-assisted value chain innovation platforms(VCIPs) that emerged in each of the states where the projects had on-going activities through interventions.
For each WAAPP-assisted VCIP in each state, there is now a defined structure with organized hierarchy usually agreed by members of the platform as some conduct elections while others devise other suitable means to accommodate all shades of differences as most of them have metamorphosed into established Cooperative Societies.
In almost all the VCIPs across the states, gender has also been mainstream such that no fewer than two or more women are part of the leadership or key positions that form the leadership.
WAAPP-Nigeria expects that, this gender focus to also reflect in all the activities of the VCIPs nationwide while encouraging the various VCIPs to build their skills on how to organize and manage their IPs in respective areas.

Similarly to achieved this WAAPP-Nigeria in collaboration with Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi(FIIRO) had target 300 farmers across the country to be trained in various agropreneurship with 50 selected from each of the geo-political zones of the country, this WAAPP-Nigeria had successfully conducted the training taking into cognizance raw material of each  geo-political zones’ which it has relative advantage on for example North-West kunu drink production and preservation,zobo drink production and preservation and tomato processing,North-East kunu drink production and preservation and Fish smoking,North-Central cassava Processing and instant pounded Yam flour,South-East Cassava Processing and fruit juice,South-South Cassava processing and fruit juice and South-West Cassava processing and instant pounded Yam flour.