The Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project has been very successful in Lagos State, as over 17,000 people have benefited across the aquaculture, poultry and rice farming value chains. The project has enhanced the agricultural productivity of small and medium-scale farmers and improved value addition along the priority value chains in the participating communities in Lagos State. It has also supported farmers’ productivity and their linkage to markets, facilitated agricultural products and cottage processing; facilitated farmers’ small and medium businesses’ clustering and connection to infrastructure networks and business services. The project in the last six years has supported more than 17,000 farmers. Interventions According to the Lagos State Coordinator for the APPEALS Project, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, various interventions by the scheme to enhance the productivity of farmers have led to the realignment of markets and other value chains in the state.
The implementation of the project has also improved the livelihood of farmers, particularly women and youths. It has also enhanced outputs in the agricultural value chains. The successes recorded by the Lagos APPEALS Project in the last six years were showcased and displayed by aquaculture, poultry and rice farming farmers during a recent media tour of various projects in Badagry, Ojo and Alimosho areas of the state. During the media tour, the farmers commended the scheme for their support towards enhancing farmers’ productivity in Lagos State. The beneficiaries, who were among over 17,000 farmers who benefited from the World Bank-assisted project, said their productivity has been improved and enhanced based on the support they received from the scheme, especially in aquaculture, rice and poultry value chains. Speaking during the media tour to Badagry, the President of the Lagos Catfish and Allied Farmers Association (LASCAFAN), Mr Sejiro Oke-Tojinu, appreciated the Lagos APPEALS Project for all the support rendered to farmers, especially those in the aquaculture sector. “When we started we had some challenges because after we had a bountiful harvest, there was the problem of managing post-harvest losses. Tilapia is not as dogged as the Catfish. Tilapia is so fragile and you cannot really transport them from place to place like you do with the Catfish.
They die before they reach their destination. You have to have them in ice and we cried to the APPEALS project and they listened to our cries. “They came up with this huge storage to prevent post-harvest losses. What we do with the storage facility is that once we harvest, we will take all the fish there. This storage facility provided by the Lagos APPEALS is even bigger than what we requested. What we have here is a state-of-the-art cottage industry. It has everything that we need. Now, we are looking for more investors to join the project.” Support Speaking on Lagos APPEALS support to farmers in Afowo, Badagry, the Lagos State Project Coordinator of the project, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, said the scheme has impacted farmers’ productivity in the community and based on the support provided by the project, the farmers are not just producing fish in Lagos, they are producing for export. Fisher Hatchers in Gbayinbo, Badagry were also full of excitement as they spoke passionately about how the Lagos APPEALS project has changed their lives positively. The Secretary of the Badagry Fish Hatchers Association, Mr. Jolaoluwa Olumayowa, said the APPEALS Project has been a game changer for his group, noting that the intervention of the project has given the capacity to have a production strength that can take up the nation. He said they have people coming from Benin Republic, Cameroon and Ghana to patronise them.
There were also several testimonies by farmers during the media tour of rice farms in Gberefun, Badagry with 400 hectares of farmland for rice cultivation. Speaking during the visit to the rice farms in Gberefu, the Lagos State Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr. Rafael Hunsa, said APPEALS has been doing so much beyond farmers’ expectations to improve their productivity. Hunsa said the project has supported farmers with critical inputs while building their capacity for good agricultural practices by assisting rice farmers at the Gberefu farm site with technology and other support, saying the project has boosted the productivity of farmers in the state and improved their livelihood. “APPEAL has been doing so much beyond expectations to their farmers. I am very proud to be a rice farmer because without food we can’t live. The scheme has been encouraging rice farmers right from time and they have been supporting us in various ways. We have about 400 hectares of farming land which has been occupied by rice farmers and they have been supporting us with different kinds of equipment like a combined harvester.”
Speaking on the state’s intervention for farmers in Gberefu, Sagoe-Oviebo said: “More than 100 rice farmers have been supported. This group of farmers belongs to the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, When we did a need assessment here we found out that birds used to come and consume all their harvests. So, we came up with the netting technology to help preserve and protect their farms and harvests. We have also supported them with improved rice seeds. “Before we came here, the farmers could only get like two tonnes per hectare but with our support, the farmers are harvesting more than four tonnes per hectare. Although the project is nearing completion, the state government will continue to support it to ensure that existing beneficiaries are not left out and new beneficiaries can be included.” NAOWA At the Ojo Barracks of the Nigerian Army, members of the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) who are involved in poultry and aquaculture, could not hide their joy as they spoke passionately about how the APPEALS Project has changed their lives positively. Mrs Oluwatoyin Oloyede, the Coordinator of the NAOWA Farmers at Ojo Barracks, said Lagos APPEALS Project has been very impactful and that jobs have been created for women and the livelihoods of farmers have been improved through the support from APPEALS.
She commended Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the World Bank for the initiative that has supported women in earning an income to support their families. “We are so happy to tell you that even when our husbands are not around, we are busy. We are on the farm and we are making money and keeping the home front. We are no longer liabilities to our husbands. We are grateful to the APPEALS Project,” she said Speaking at the NAOWA farmers’ event, Mrs. Sagoe-Oviebo said: “Ojo Barracks is mainly cultivated and managed by wives of military officers. Six years ago, most of them were running their farms at the back of their houses. When the APPEALS project started, we encouraged them that there was a need for them to come together as a group and have an estate to expand their farms.
“The scheme has supported over 80 of them in aquaculture and poultry. The aggregation centre is NAFDAC-approved. They can actually export their fish outside the country because it has met the standards. We have also partnered with the Federal Department of Fisheries.” According to the Lagos State Project Coordinator of the APPEALS Project, the government’s interventions and support of relevant stakeholders to farmers in various clusters had ensured sustainable business alliance, improved productivity, employment, investment opportunities, and food sustainability in the state. She said the APPEALS Project will continue to partner with farmers as well as stakeholders to ensure food security, and promote investments and smart technology in Lagos State. Sagoe-Oviebo said the state government understands and appreciates the importance of the project and its impact on ensuring food security, therefore, the state would continue to provide the necessary support for the farmers even after the project ends.