The Lagos Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project has launched a Farm Record Handbook and e-record portal application for collecting, organising and categorising records to enhance good farm management among farmers in the state.
Speaking at the stakeholders workshop, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said that farm record keeping was critical to overall farm management and sustainable profitability.
Lawal said that farming was a business and that good record keeping would help the farmer plan and do realistic forecasting which was critical to overall farm management and sustainable profitability.
“Profitability in our farming business is one of the key concerns to us as administrators and promotion of farmers’ prosperity is of paramount interest, especially for our small and medium scale farmers in the state,” he said.
The commissioner said the Lagos APPEALS project design was in line with the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP: 2016, 2020) and would directly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said this would be achieved through ensuring food security, support to export opportunities, as well as support to livelihood improvement.
“I want to implore us all to be a financial manager by keeping accurate farm records and establishing and maintaining a proven record keeping system. Past experience has shown that farmers who keep records are usually successful farmers,” Lawal said.
State Coordinator, Lagos APPEALS Project, Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, said the stakeholders’ workshop was to enhance the productivity of farmers across the three different value chains – rice, poultry and aquaculture.
She said the programme was aimed at linking farmers to financial institutions, including the Bank of Agriculture, Wema Bank and others on how they could support farmers with single digit interest loan.
“We all know that for your productivity to be enhanced, there are things that you must have in place. One of those things is that you must have records.
“Unfortunately, record keeping is one thing most farmers find very difficult to do. Today we are going to launch our record books across the three value chains.
“But beyond that, the world is changing, it’s an evolving generation; everyone is going high-tech. We want to introduce to you today, the e-record keeping format, so that you can keep your record even on your own laptop, phone and computers.
“For any bank or financial institution to give any second level finance assistance, there has to be evidence of record. We don’t want our farmers to miss out, we don’t want them to loose out and that is one of the things that prompted us to say every farmer must have a record.
“Farmers are anxious and highly interested, most especially because of the second level financing and we are going to link farmers with other financial institutions,” she said.
Sagoe-Oviebo said the training would be done in six different locations where there were large number of farmers which included, Epe, Badagry, Ojo and others, from March 19.
Also speaking, a representative of Bank of Agriculture in Lagos, Tokunbo Afolabi, commended APPEALS project for launching the programme.
Afolabi urged farmers to embrace the habit of record keeping as it would enable them track their business and quantify their activities.
“For instance, there are some farmers that do not know whether they are making profit or not, they are just doing business, no records for anything.
“But with book keeping, you are able to organise yourself, tailor your activities and anybody can assess your activities, especially the banks.
Femi Oke, Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria in Lagos, also lauded the Lagos APPEALS project for initiating the programme for farmers.
Oke said record keeping was very key to agri-business, adding that proper record keeping helped people get loans from financial institutions with ease.