By Jimoh Babatunde
Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support, APPEALS, project has advised farmers, especially those in Lagos State and beneficiaries of the project to contribute to the growth of the Nigeria economy through export of agricultural products.
Speaking at a three-day training organised by the project for farmers in Lagos last Monday, the Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya, congratulated the beneficiaries for being part of the APPEALS project.
He said that part of the mandate of APPEALS Project is to develop the export potential of the beneficiaries and to ensure successful linkage to international market, noting that the meeting with the certification and regulatory agencies is one of the strategic ways in achieving the feat.
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In her address, the Lagos State Coordinator of APPEALS Project, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, charged the farmers to work towards standardising production and processing of aquaculture, rice and poultry for export market and high earned market.
She said the goal of the training, tagged “Meeting of Certification and Regulatory Agencies with APPEALS project beneficiaries” was to increase export potential of the project’s beneficiaries.
Sagoe-Oviebo, while stressing the urgent need for farmers to begin to contribute to the foreign coffers of the Nigerian economy through export of locally produced products, said farmers should be abreast of the standard that will earn their products premium prices.
She said: “We are training our farmers on best practices that will ensure that they get certification from relevant agencies and to ensure that they are getting premium prices for whatever they are selling.
“This training is part of the activities to support our beneficiaries. This training will enlighten them in the certification and to understand the regulations so as to increase their export potential.
“A lot of our beneficiaries are encouraging us with the pace at which they are adopting the technologies we have demonstrated to them.
“As at the last quarter, we had over 70 beneficiaries of Lagos APPEALS Project that had adopted the technologies we demonstrated to them.
“Many of them are ready to run with what we have taught them, because it is not enough to provide grants, but to teach them how to put it to good use.”
The Lagos State APPEALS Coordinator also disclosed that the project had acquired a rice colour sorter machine to further prove the quality of rice and enhance the productivity of rice farmers in the state.
She also revealed that 5,000 farmers had been trained and 720 beneficiaries supported with grant for technology adoption so far in the three value chains of the APPEALS project, which are rice, aquaculture and poultry.
Also speaking, the Deputy Director, Export Division of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Dr. Sadiq Yunus, said the training was necessary for better understanding of export procedures to help cushion effects of COVID-19 pandemic on farmers.
Dr. Yunus said NAFDAC was ready to propel Medium-Small Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) through facilitations at no cost.
Speaking on Standardising Production and Processing of Aquaculture Products for Export Market and High Earned Market, the representative of the Federal Department of Fisheries, FDF, Mrs Olanike Oladosu, said farmers should identify potential customers, meet the standards of the importing country and ensure to achieve competitive pricing.
She also highlighted reasons why farmers should target high earned market, high class point of sale and presentation and product packaging.