In its support to improve on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Lagos State, the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATN Foundation) in partnership with the State Agricultural Development Authority (LSADA) has donated 20 fifty-kilogram smoking kilns to beneficiary farmers and agribusinesses.
With the support of the BATN Foundation, the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority also facilitated several weeks of intensive capacity building and established four demonstration sites for practical training for over 200 beneficiaries cutting across agricultural zones (Agege, Ojo, Ikorodu and Ibeju-Lekki) in the State.
This initiative is programmed to enhance the productivity of the farmers and equip them to successfully overcome the challenges prevalent in the aquaculture industry.
At the handing over of the smoking kilns to the beneficiary held at LSADA office, Oko-Oba Agege, which had in attendance government officials, fish farmers’ groups, and cooperative societies across the State, Elizabeth Tagbenu, a beneficiary of the initiative stated that participating in the training had provided her with new knowledge and real-life scenarios to increase her output.
She also noted how the smoking kiln donation would help her business and boost her productivity.
BusinessDay reports that the partnership, which commenced in 2018 is aimed at building the capacity of fish farmers under the fingerlings to fork project and the donation of smoking kilns, was part of the Foundation’s effort to prevent post-harvest loss and support the socio-economic development of smallholder farmers in the State.
Oludare Odusanya, general manager, BATN Foundation in his remark at the handing over ceremony, said that the Foundation’s long-standing assistance to farmers had revealed the importance of not only imparting optimal agricultural practices for enhanced fish production, but also ensuring market access and empowering them to enhance the value of their commodities. This approach, according to him, is essential for building resilience against price volatility.
“In our long-term work to supporting farmers, we have seen that beyond simply imparting best practices for enhancing fish yield, it is critical to give them market access and give them the tools they need to add value to their product and withstand fluctuations in prices”, she said.
But, Ruth Abisola Olusanya, Commissioner of Agriculture for Lagos State, who was represented by Aramide Gansallo, Director, Agribusiness, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, encouraged the fish farmers benefiting from the initiative to maximize this opportunity for successful fish processing in the State.
She reiterated that the project plays a pivotal role in supporting the Lagos State government’s on-going agricultural policy to guarantee food sufficiency and security across significant agricultural value chains.
Abdullateef Adekunle, one of the beneficiaries, expressed his heart-felt gratitude to the BATN Foundation for providing him with the smoking kiln, saying this invaluable support would not only enhance his business but would also open new avenues for growth. “With this equipment, I can now process and preserve my fish more efficiently, ensuring better market opportunities and increased income for my family”, he said.