The Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project in Lagos State has stressed the need for marketing, branding and packaging of Nigeria’s agro commodities.
Mr Adewale Alade, the Agro-Processing Specialist of the project, made the assertions at the training of some farmers on Tuesday in Lagos.
Alade urged the farmers to engage in market surveys and other techniques to understand their markets before embarking on production of a commodity.
“The importance of today’s training is to train farmers on marketing their products, which should entail all the processes of the value chain, from production to the market.
“Farmers should be able to know how and where to market, package and brand agro products.
“The project places so much emphasis on market because this process drives production.
“This training is to teach, encourage and expose beneficiaries to understand the processes,” he said.
Alade also said that at the end of the session, farmers would be better positioned in the area of marketing and branding.
On his parts, Mr Funsho Popoola, the Training Manager for Africa Leadership Forum, encouraged farmers to improve the value-chain of their produce in order to increase their productivity.
“We are in partnership with APPEALS to build capacity for the agricultural value-chain players in Nigeria.
“We do it in the Nigerian ecosystem making sure that they develop their capacity at production and that they also explore international markets.
“Last December when we offered training to key players in the agro-sector and it was mainly centred on exportation.
“Today’s event was targeted at developing the capacity of these agriprenuers on sales and marketing because most farmers have difficulty in pushing their products out.
“We know the strategic importance of marketing when it comes to perishable agro-produce. If not sold on time they get bad and then the capital is lost.
“The loss of capital for the farmers is what we are trying to avoid by organising this workshop to let them know what they need to do to sell in good time so that they can go back to the farm and produce again,” Popoola said.
According to him, branding for agro-produce is not as clear and easy as in manufactured products, because agro-produce are the same, for instance, yam tubers are the same everywhere.
“The only way you can brand agro-produce is dependent on how the goods are presented to the customers.
“We want the farmers to have great confidence in the potential of the agriculture value chain.
“Agro-produce are on daily demand, but these farmers can make more money from their produce when they add value to them.
“We encourage farmers to do forward in integration by making efforts to process their produce. Farmers should step up and process what they are processing to make more gains,” he said.
Also, Dr Sadiq Yisfi, Deputy Director, Port Inspection Directorate, NAFDAC, lauded the initiative of the Lagos APPEALS in equipping farmers for improved productivity.
Yisfi also encouraged them to go through the right processes in exporting agro-produce.
“This is a laudable project from the World Bank; they want to make sure that farmers have improved livelihoods.
“The project concentrates on the rice, poultry and aquaculture sectors.
“We have come to encourage farmers and help them build capacity to make their produce fit for exports.
“As NAFDAC, we have come to encourage the farmers on brand standard and packaging of our agro-produce.
“We want farmers to make frantic efforts to develop their produce and increase their profits.
“As part of the mandate in NAFDAC, our collaboration with APPEALS will help these farmers to the next level.
“Apart from safeguarding the health of the nation, we have the mandate to facilitate trade too.
“Unfortunately, most of these farmers do not come to us for appropriate certification before they export their agro-produce, which makes most of their produce rejected on arrival at their export destination,” Yisfi added.
A beneficiary of the APPEALS project, Mrs Olusola Adegbesan, expressed gratitude to organisers of the programme for equipping not just farmers, but women and youths.
“I process and add value to all agricultural produce. I believe today’s training is impactful and cuts across all the value-chain from the farmers to the consumers and not the marketers alone.
“Though, I have been in the business for a while now, you never stop learning, there is always something new to learn.
“I will like to appreciate APPEALS as an all encompassing program that empowers not just farmers alone but women and youths.
”The beautiful thing about the project is that there is no age limit for women, even older women benefits from the project.
“There is no farmer or agro-produce processor under the APPEALS project who is not happy with what is happening here.”