Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has appealed to the Federal Government to support the state to process potatoes, tomatoes and other perishable farm produce in the state.
The governor made the appeal during a courtesy visit to him by a delegation of the Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS).
APPEALS is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture Rural Development funded by the World Bank.
Gov. Lalong said agro-processing was one of the major challenges of the agriculture sector in the state and that even as Plateau is the leading producer of potatoes and tomatoes in the country, it was handicapped in the area of processing for export.
He noted that agriculture was the largest employer of labour in the state and that Federal Government's intervention was timely and would boost productivity.
In his remarks, 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 said the six-year project with five participating states would conduct a mid-term review in December and expand the scheme to 12 states including Plateau.
"Plateau, by our assessment, is ready for the project. The state will leverage on the structure of the Fadama project and will need to supply vehicles," he said.