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Lagos APPEALS project seeks collaboration among financial institutions, insurance companies, farmers

The Lagos State Coordinating Office, Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS) has called for synergy among financial institutions, insurance companies, farmers and off-takers in the state.

Lagos State Project Coordinator, APPEALS, Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo made the plea on Thursday in Lagos at a joint forum of financial institutions, insurance companies, offtakers, stakeholders and beneficiaries.

The forum, which was organised by the Lagos APPEALS Project in its Oko-Oba, Agege office, was to deliberate on sustainability of the project.

Speaking during the stakeholders’ forum, Sagoe-Oviebo said that synergy among all agricultural stakeholders would promote productivity in the sector.

The forum was attended by representatives of financial institutions, insurance companies, farmers and off-takers in different agricultural value chains, specifically rice, poultry and aquaculture.

Sagoe-Oviebo urged the financial institutions and insurance companies to assist and support farmers with necessary funds to remain in business, just as she implored the farmers to be prudent and good managers of all resources.

“Today, we are having a meeting of our service providers — banks and insurance companies so they can interface with us and our cluster heads because that is the bedrock of the APPEALS project.

“The APPEALS is in the middle and we have all these people by our side.

“Last week, the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) came to my office that they wanted to support one cluster out of the many cluster groups that we have in APPEALS.

“I asked them to come and see what our farmers are doing here.

“I felt that there was the need for us to collaborate with other institutions, not just BoA.

“How can we work together to make sure that our farmers remain in business?

“The government alone can’t make it happen, it has to be a collective effort.

“We all have to determine amongst ourselves that we must make this thing happen. If all of us can work together, then our farmers will remain in business,” she said.

Sagoe-Oviebo noted that the APPEALS project had established 15 aggregation centres across the state in three value chains — poultry, aquaculture and rice.

“That is one thing that can trigger production. If the aggregation centres work, then farmers will definitely have every reason to produce.

“But we all know what is happening in the Industry today, so how can the Bank of Industry (BoI), how can the Bank of Agriculture help our farmers?

“Bank of Agriculture can come and help with inputs, BoI can support with equipment, while insurance companies will insure our farmers.

“We have the commercial banks and that is why we are working with all these people with their wealth of experience to help us and guide us, so that we don’t make mistakes.

“We have so many people here today, let’s rub minds together; the cluster heads, everybody must work together.

“The banks must understand the terrain of agriculture. When I was speaking with BoA, I told them that a lot of people do not understand Agriculture,” she said.

Zonal Manager, South-West Zone, BoA, Mr Akeem Osho said the financial institution was ready to assist farmers with short, medium and long-terms loans at affordable rates to boost their productivity.

The BoI Representative, Mr Johnbosco Idoko urged farmers to develop insurance cultures as a way of protecting their businesses and farms.

He advised farmers to always read through every policy document at the point of registering for any insurance cover.

“BoI does not give group loans, we give loan to only individuals and registered businesses who have met all the requirements.

“If you must take a loan, ensure that you really need it and are not just copying your friends or neighbours,” Idoko said.

NAICOM Representative, Dr Olisha Mokemo urged farmers to embrace insurance to protect their businesses and avoid loss, adding that this minimised risk management.

Representative of Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Commission (NAIC), Mr Bolaji Folayan said that insurance was real and urged farmers to pay attention to their insurance policy and documents.

He urged the farmers to contact their insurance companies immediately after a disaster or loss occurred on their farms.

“Apart from India, Nigeria is the cheapest in agric. insurance cover.

“Call us immediately whenever there is emergency, so that we can ascertain the level of loss because any delay can be dangerous,” he said.

President, Lagos State Catfish and Allied Association (LASCAFAN), Mr Sejiro Oke-Tojinu commended the APPEALS project for their support to farmers over the years.

“In terms of implementation, the APPEALS project has been awesome. It is one project that has really kept the farmers in business.

“We pray that the state government will continue with the project or adopt the model for other agric. programmes in Lagos,” he said.

Some of the farmers expressed their displeasure over the services received from financial institutions and insurance companies.

They said that there was a lot of mistrust on the part of the financial institutions.

The farmers urged financial institutions to support them with market linkages, which could aid in the repayment of their loans.

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