• Farmers tell success story of technology interventions, innovations

From Lukman Olabiyi

Due to its landmass, Lagos State may not be regarded as one of the states with what it takes to boost economy through agriculture. But the intervention of technology and innovations, farmers are already changing the narrative.

With the success story of the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), a World Bank-assisted programme supported by Federal Government and state governments, farmers said the state is now the new destination of foreigners from neighbouring countries searching for quality fishes and other poultry products.


Recently, government and farmers’ efforts were reviewed by the World Bank and the Federal Government (FG) during an assessment of the APPEALS Project. The bank Task Team Leader, Dr. Emmanuel Manievel Sene and National Project Coordinator, APPEALS Project, Mohammed Jobdi, were in the state for the APPEALS Project 10th Implementation Support Mission (ISM) field visit to Badagry.

Together with the state Project Coordinator, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo and others witnessed the harvesting of fish through the cage culture technology. Also, they inspected some of the equipment provided for farmers. They visited fish farmers in Afowo, Badagry.

Sene said: “For Lagos APPEALS Project, I want to congratulate them for what they did with the farmers. Now we know exactly what is happening on the ground. Coming here we have seen what is happening on the ground.

“Lagos has really done well and in terms of performance, I will rate them satisfactory. We started the Implementation Support with the desk review. From the reports that we have gotten, they have even surpassed some of the targets set as far as the implementation is concerned within the framework of the project.

“This is despite the fact that the fish cage culture is a relatively new technology in Nigeria. They have implemented it well. We have seen the harvests and the rate of technology implementation.”

Jobdi said the visit was part of their supervisory mission, “which is usually embarked upon every six months. Tilapia fish is usually raised under a controlled pond.

“But with the new technology of cage culture being adopted by the farmers in Afowo, Badagry, the fish can be raised in its natural habitat. Testimonies abound on its efficacy in the high returns on investment for the farmers.”

Mrs. Sagoe-Oviebo, said: “Today we have brought the World Bank Team to see what Lagos State Government has been able to achieve as regards the fish cage culture technology. I must say that the Lagos State APPEALS project is only aligning itself with government initiative on agriculture.

“Government has propagated the cage culture and the cage culture is a technology that is already on shelve. It is a technology that is already well known outside the country.

“We are not reinventing the wheel. What we are doing differently here is to increase the adoption rate because of the support given by government and the World Bank.

“We have more than six clusters here, that have received support from the APPEALS project. We have supported quite a number of women and youths in Lagos State. The Ogbonge Women alone are over 300. They are one of the clusters we have supported. Some of the clusters have more than 300 beneficiaries.

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“We also have the Aggregation Centres. We have provided storage facilities. We have built cottage industries. We have provided cold rooms, and blast freezers so that, immediately after harvests, farmers can safely store their produce before heading to the markets.

“This eliminates wastage immensely. Why do we want to continue with the importation of fish when we can produce them in Nigeria, and this technology is being replicated across the state.”

A beneficiary of the project and president, Lagos State Catfish and Allied Farmers Association (LASCAFAN), Mr. Sejiro Oke-Tojinu, said the project contributed a 40 per cent increase to their production, especially with the adoption of the cage culture.

He said the project came when they needed it most: “About 60 per cent of farmers in Lagos State were brought back to business by the project after the COVID pandemic, which affected farmers negatively.

“They are currently selling tilapia fish to the Benin Republic and Togo because of the technologies and innovations in terms of cage culture, cold room and blast freezers, among others.”

The beneficiaries in aquaculture, poultry and rice production, promised to make good use of all the support provided by the project. They called for an extension of the project for more people to benefit from the six-year project, which has impacted millions of Lagos residents, particularly farmers, directly and indirectly.

Former LASCAFAN president, Alhaja Nurat Atoba, said they have been empowered by the project with pieces of equipment, especially blast freezers to prevent post-harvest loss. She said they benefited in training and capacity building.

President, Ogbonge Women Multipurpose Cooperative, Mrs. Chinasa Asonye, said: “APPEALS Project came to our rescue to wipe our tears during the COVID period. We were empowered and that prevented us from incurring huge losses. They gave us cage culture and mushrooms centre. We are about 400 people and we are beneficiaries of the project.”

President, Badagry chapter of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Raphael Wunsa said: “Before APPEALS Project, we were nowhere but APPEALS Project made us know that rice farming is a business and it can be commercialised.

“We were trained and they gave us items and equipment. They also build an Aggregation Centre for us. I will like this project to continue. If it continues, it will help those coming behind us.”

General Secretary, Poultry Association, Foluso Adams, said: “APPEALS Project has brought us so many succours and alleviated our sufferings. With the support of the project, we have achieved success in egg powder.

“Mrs. Sagoe-Oviebo has done great things and she deserves commendation. We want to appeal that APPEALS Project should be elongated.”

Baale of the Afowo, Chief Amos Ejee, appreciated APPEALS Project for what it has done to change his community for good in terms of road construction and the building of a jetty to make access to water easy for the farmers who are making good use of the cage culture provided for the farmers by the APPEALS Project.

He said the intervention boosted the image of Afowo in Badagry: “That intervention provided job opportunities for youths. They are currently managing the cage culture, as well as fish farmers and marketers in the community.”

National vice president, Tilapia Farmers Association (TFA), Nurudeen Tiamiyu said: “This is the first time we have seen a project that has assisted farmers in four circles. APPEALS Project has done tremendously well for our sector and we are proud of them.”

A fish farmer, Mayowa Jolaolusa, said: “The intervention of the APPEALS Project has made us scale through challenges. They supported us with many things. The trajectory has changed. We believe more good things will happen.”

APPEALS Project, which started in 2017, is expected to end this year. It was a World Bank-assisted programme supported by the Federal Government and Lagos State Government.

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