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Lagos APPEALS Project empowers farmers to boost poultry, fish production

The Lagos Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project, a World Bank-assisted project, is set to  empower more farmers with new technologies to improve food production in the poultry, aquaculture and rice value chains.

The Project Coordinator, Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, gave the assurance while monitoring APPEALS Project implementation sites in Lagos.

The coordinator was accompanied by representatives of the state Debt Management Office, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Office of the Deputy Governor, and Ministry of Agriculture.

The sites are in Agbowa, Igbodu and Epe.

Sagoe-Oviebo said that APPEALS Project supported the Isokan Cooperative Agricultural Multipurpose Society, Agbowa, with 10kg of cage culture, 15,000 male Tilapia (fish) and 400 bags of feeds.

She added that the project provided God’s Own Commercial Poultry Cams Ltd., Igbodu, Epe, with nipple-fitted drinkers and pelletised feeds for broiler production, 7,700 day-old chickens, medicines and 11 pieces of 500-litre water tank.

Sagoe-Oviebo said that the intervention in the aquaculture value chain was to increase production of Tilapia in Nigeria and reduce consumption of unwholesome imported frozen fish.

According to her, the project has supported the two commodity interest groups of 10 members, each, with cage culture and barrier boom to enhance productivity.

She said that the APPEALS Project had trained farmers on a new technology to produce Tilapia for the Nigerian market to change the trend whereby Nigerian fish farmers focused only on Catfish.

The coordinator regretted that many Nigerians consumed unwholesome imported frozen Tilapia, but hoped that with the intervention, Lagos residents would have access to fresh and wholesome Tilapia.

She said that there were markets for both poultry and aquaculture products in Lagos State, adding that the project had empowered some off-takers with cold-rooms, blast freezers and solar-powered kiosks.

“We have the market for fresh Tilapia. Today, most people buy imported frozen Tilapia; these are not wholesome, they have been preserved and kept in the cold-room for long.

“In Nigeria, we have the environment and the wherewithal to produce our own Tilapia.

“What we are trying to do is to show our farmers that rather than producing just Catfish, they can actually produce Tilapia,” she said.

Sagoe-Oviebo said the aim of the APPEALS Project was to enhance productivity and sustainability with the support of new technologies.

She said that with the Federal Government’s ban on importation of chicken, the APPEALS Project looked at how it could further support poultry farmers.

She said that innovations that would help poultry farmers to achieve a better weight for their products within a shorter period were, therefore, introduced.

“We introduced the nipple-fitted drinkers and the pelletised feed as against using durfs and mashed grain feeds.

“You can see, the farms we went to, in six weeks, they have been able to achieve an average of 2.2kg, and I think that is a very good one. In fact, in four weeks, they had got 1.8kg,” she said.

The coordinator said the state was supporting farmers on Tilapia production because an average Lagos resident would buy scaly fish if available.

“The reason we are focusing on Tilapia is that an average Lagosian will prefer scaly fish.

“When you find true Lagosians, they don’t eat Catfish, they prefer scaly fish.

“Why must we import Tilapia if we can grow it ourselves; so, we are teaching our farmers that rather than just do Catfish, let us start producing our own Tilapia in our open water bodies.

“In the next six months, we are going to harvest, I am sure when they see the results and they know that there is a guaranteed market, they will be happy.

“We are here to see what APPEALS has done, to see what APPEALS has implemented fully and the impact of the implementation in the lives of our farmers,” she said.

Sagoe-Oviebo said there was always room for improvement, adding that the project would tackle challenges identified.

One of the beneficiaries, Mr Adeniran Adeyemo, commended the APPEALS Project for support to fish farmers in Agbowa.

“We appreciate what the government and APPEALS project have done for us, and we urge them to extend it to other farmers in the state.

“This place was established four years ago by former Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to increase fish production in the state.

“We have a lot of water hyacinth here, disturbing us, and the water is not resting, and it was very stressful for us to feed the fish, but the support has made our job easy.

“One of our challenges is that feed is very expensive, so we want government to help us with low interest loans to reduce the burden.  We promise to pay it back,” he said.

He also appealed to the state government to construct access roads to the farm.

Mr Olaoluwa Falade, a poultry farmer, also lauded the APPEALS Project, as well as the federal and the state governments for the training and support.

He said his group consisted of 11 young farmers who were committed to providing their competence to improve food security and self-sufficiency.

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