Supporting agro entrepreneurs

The agricultural sector is probably the largest livelihood provider in Nigeria with the smallholder farming community making the bulk of it. It is responsible for growing food.

To ensure food security and boost agro entrepreneurship, the Lagos State Government is deploying its Agro-processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project, a six-year World Bank-assisted scheme, to boost farmers’ productivity and their linkages to markets, facilitating farmers and small and medium businesses, among others.

The World Bank and Lagos State government have invested in programmes aimed at supporting smallholder farmers to implement best farming practices, boost exports and improve yields.

One area the government is pushing farmers to, is the local and global Egg Powder Market, which, an international research firm, says is expected to witness substantial growth due to the long shelf life of the product as compared to whole eggs which are fragile. Also, there is no need to refrigerate unopened powdered egg packages.

The growth of the bakery and confectionery goods industry is expected to boost the sales of egg powder at a global level.

The Lagos State Coordinator APPEALS Project, Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, sees increased application in the foodservice industry to create opportunities for manufacturers of egg powder.

Local poultry farmers have called on the Federal Government to ban or impose more duty on egg powder (dehydrated and powdered eggs) import to save the country from waste associated with the import valued at over $1 billion yearly.

Nigeria is the largest producer of eggs in Africa, with 10.3 billion eggs rolled out yearly, according to the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN). But the poultry farmers are yet to fully take advantage of the large production capacity by processing eggs into powdery forms.

Mrs Sagoe-Oviebo believes converting eggs into powder forms would not only prevent intermittent fluctuations in demand and post-harvest wastage but would also attract more investments in the egg production sector.

Egg powder is in huge demand for various uses which include: preparation of foods such as ice-cream, bread, cakes, biscuits, noodles, and doughnuts. It can  be rehydrated to make dishes such as scrambled eggs and omelets. The egg powder can also be used for oil-based emulsions.

She said part of the mandate of APPEALS Project is to develop the export potential of the beneficiaries and 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.

Mrs Sagoe-Oviebo said the government is working with farmers to standardise production and processing of aquaculture, rice and poultry for export market and high earned market.

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.’’

Mrs  Sagoe-Oviebo said the project has assisted 10,000 farmers and 50,000 beneficiaries with grants to ensure food security, create jobs and engender export opportunity for farm produce of farmers.

She said a cluster of fish farmers at Badagry had adopted the production of fish crackers and fish cakes, saying over 1000 packs of fish fillets and crackers had been produced and sold during the period.

At another forum, the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said APPEALS would ensure food security and increase the capacity of farmers in the state.

She stated that the project was aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along poultry, aquaculture and rice value chains.

Ms. Abisola Olusanya said the APPEALS project sponsored by the state government, in conjunction with the Federal Government and World Bank, is aimed at supporting farmers’ productivity and access to markets.

She noted that the administration supports agriculture, through the APPEALS project, to empower women, youths and other residents in the three value chains of the project – aquaculture, rice and poultry.

She noted that scale-appropriate farm mechanisation would help farmers to intensify their cropping system at a lower cost.


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