Review: Lagos APPEALS project records over N1.09bn value of transactions in three operation-chains

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…17,467 farmers benefit from  programmes

…Farmers root for sustainability as programme terminates next year

By Moses Adeniyi

Value of transaction which exchange hands in three agricultural value chains supported by the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement And Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS Project) of the Lagos State Government hit over N1.09billion for 2021 — Nigerian NewsDirect has gathered.

The scheme according to report gathered, recorded the sum from the value of output in 2021 on the basis of alliance structures established to run the chain of production from farmers to market.

In Aquaculture, five alliances was gathered to have produced about N12.825million from Tilapia  proceeds;  N18.6million value of transactions from Cat fish by alliance; Poultry — N99.2million,  N63.6million for broiler and layers respectively; and from the rice value chain N900million, totalling about N1.094billion worth transactions.

This is just as no less than 17,467 beneficiaries are recorded to have benefited from the project which has a six year timeline of implementation.

The figure including both direct and indirect beneficiaries across the three value chain, Aquaculture, Poultry, and Rice production, was observed to be above the target of the programme.

As gathered, 21 business Alliance and two Off-taker arrangements are presently working in the State and showing results, 26 technology demonstrations carried out, just as about 2,650 stakeholders have been noted to be using the technologies in the value chains of Poultry, Aquaculture and Rice.

A validated report of the Lagos Bureau of Statistics (LBS) from a Production Output Survey established that the project contributed a value of N333.94million, 0.07 percent, to the State’s GDP by 924 farmers supported by the project in 2020 — a record translating to 0.07 percent of the GDP.

It was observed on livelihood that the programme has decreased poverty by 7.5percent under aquaculture, poultry 5percent, and rice — 10percent.

Other areas of intervention effected by the project include, training of WYEP beneficiaries on Business Investment Plan penetration, Programmed driven by needs assessment to correct wrongs, building the capacities of the farmers, 7,533 beneficiaries trained in the different enterprises to address challenges.

Also were demonstrating technologies in partnership with Research Institutes, empowerment of 3,950 farmers of the three value chains with inputs, equipment and technologies.

In a media parley themed: “Zero Hunger: Forging Ahead Together for Sustainable Actions” organised on Monday by  APPEALS Project, Lagos State Coordination Office, to review the achievements of the programme in the last one year, the Lagos State Project Coordinator, APPEALS project, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo disclosed that with the interventions of the programme, two agricultural products – fish and rice – have gained their in-roads into the international market, surpassing the target of at least one.

She mentioned that in response to the challenges of farmers, various interventions done in alliance with reasearch institutions led to the development of new systems of practices which, according to her, have changed the narratives for farmers.

She mentioned that the Office has been working closely with relevant standard bodies including NAFDAC to ensure produces across the value chains meet International market standards.

She mentioned that in 2021, the value of output from the three value chains through major business alliances recorded over N1.094billion value worth of exchanges.

“What we do is need assessment. What are you doing right now? Why are you not able to meet your target? What we do is to find out what they are not doing right and correct them, so that we can achieve what is expected. We build the capacities of our farmers and to date, we have been able to train 7,533 beneficiaries in different enterprises.

“We demonstrate the technologies to the farmers with Research Institutes. To date, we have been able to suppport 3,950 farmers across the three different value chains with inputs, equipment,  among others.” Sagoe-Oviebo said.

According to her, the project capitalised on improving aquaculture in the State through new initiatives which recorded a major development in Tilapia fish farming, a development she noted have recorded advanced output of up to 2.5kg products against the erstwhile losses that used to accompany the farming of Tilapia.

According to her, the improvements recorded through technology driven interventions have continued to attract more investors coming on board, as the outputs is now attracting patronage from neighbouring Countries.

“If you look at what we are doing in Aquaculture, we are trying to bring in a new specie and popularised it and I think we have done great job with Tilapia farming in the State

“We have supported a lot of people and because we are technology based, it’s not just about the numbers, it’s about technology.

“Where was Tilapia when APPEALS came on board and where is Tilapia today?

“APPEALS introduced the all-male Tilapia where we looked at the cage culture. We identified different water bodies in Lagos State and we picked the ones we knew will allow our fish to thrive well.

“From a very low output, most farmers even in two years couldn’t achieve 500grams, but under APPEALS, in six months we had an average of over 1kg and some about 2.2 to 2.5Kg. For us, it’s a major achievement.

“Other time, it was us importing Tilapia into Nigeria, today we are exporting.because the border towns are actually coming to buy,” she said.

Sagoe-Oviebo mentioned that with provisions of seedlings and other agronomic processes, local rice production, such as Ofada, has scaled up from 1.2 metric tonnes per hectare to 3.5 metric tonnes with new inputs, boosting rice production with best quality.

She disclosed that approval had been given for implementation of no less 1,542 business plans including Youth and Women, with a grant of an average of N2miilion, with other supporting provisions.

She mentioned that the sustainability linkage measure adopted to connect poultry farmers, affected by market for their outputs, with Off-takers have largely reduced the challenges of losses in the poultry industry in addition to supporting farmers with improved technologies.

This is just as she disclosed that the provision of cold rooms and blast freezers to Off-takers have boosted the output of farm-to-table poultry production for healthy consumption, against the hazardous impacts of imported frozen foods ridden with preservatives.

She, however, called on farmers to be diligently productive to reap the full benefits of the programme.

Farmers roots for sustainability as programme ends next year Just as the timeline for the six-year programme, 2017 – 2023, is set to terminate next year, farmers have begun to clamour for its extension. This, according to them, was sacrosanct to ensure sustainability.

Secretary, Fish Hatchers Association of Badagry (FHAB), Jola-Oluwa Olumayowa, said water pollution of the past affecting hatching, in addition to deep seated challenges of climate inconsistencies are challenges the APPEALS projects have addressed for stakeholders in the chain of production.

According to Olumayowa, who is also a beneficiary, training and interventions such as providing water treatment plants, good brood stocks and feeds, have seen farmers now having in their stock over two million fishes per circle in three months period.

Secretary, Poultry Estate Farmers Association, Erikorodo, Lagos, Seyi Ladega, said challenges of road network to farms, have been addressed through the project.

She mentioned that the beneficiaries were supported through grants and various trainings on management, performance monitoring, among other provisions for facilitaties,

Mentioning that the programme “is a catalyst to further development in the estate,” she said it had borne the formation of “formidable groups able to do so many things based on the training and experiences acquired.”

Ladega who said broiler production  has become “productive and successful” by the skillings and empowerment, affirmed that Erikorodo and Ikorodu is moving to be become the hub of broiler production in West Africa.

She applauded the linkage system incorporating farmers, off-takers, financiers, and processors in a chain of operation, maintaining that it would lead to a hub of massive production for export.

Beneficiary in the Off-takers line, Saduat Salami, in Erikorodo, Lagos, said before time, most products they got used to be fake imported frozen foods, but with APPEALS the right supply from farms have become reliably realistic – a development she said has made poultry to-table fresh products readily available.

According to her, the 15 tonnes capacity cold rooms provided for the beneficiaries had addressed the plight of off-takers who before now have had it unrealistic to meet-up large orders, but now can meet up with the demands, to the tune of making supplies to other States of the Federation.

She said the reliability and the credibility of the system satisfies quality and safety assurance standards as  farmers of chicken products are easily traceable for their produces.

Mentioning that continuous trainings on production processes as witnessed in the programme, against a one-off arrangement, has been helpful to meet international standards, she called on the government to do more to meet the demands of the teeming population.

It was gathered the programme’s line of focus for 2022 would centre on such innovative interventions as  developing canning technology, egg-power processing, road networks, building the cottage industry, installation of transformers, among others.

Objectives of APPEALS is targeted at enhancing productivity of Small and Medium Scale Farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the State.