Stakeholders in the agricultural sector recently gathered at the Johnson Agiri Complex in Oko-Oba, Agege area of Lagos state to discuss and give more enlightenment to farmers on the importance of record keeping in their various farms.
The meeting which was put together by the Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project was also used to launch Farm Record Handbook and e-Record Portal.
Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, State Coordinator, Lagos APPEALS Project, while speaking at the stakeholders meeting, said that the stakeholders workshop was to enhance the productivity of farmers across the three different value chains – rice, poultry and aquaculture.
She said that the Farm Record Handbook and e-record portal is an application for collecting, organising and categorising records to enhance good farm management, preservation, retrieval, use and disposition.
She said that the programme was aimed to link farmers to financial institutions 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 it 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 lose 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.
Gbolahan Lawal, Commissioner for Agriculture in the state while speaking, said today’s agriculture operations are much more modern and business oriented and keeping the books up to date is 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.
“I know that we don’t have a doubt in our minds that record keeping will, to a great extent, have positive impact on our enterprise planning process. Farming is a business and good records keeping helps the farmers plan and do realistic forecasting.
Lawal said that the state government in implementing the THEMES policy of making the state a 21st century economy is supporting quite a number of projects and programmes.
One of such laudable projects according to him is the APPEALS project in collaboration with the Federal Government and the World Bank with the development objective of enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers, and improving value addition along priority value chains of aquaculture, poultry and rice.
“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,” he added.
Some of the stakeholders present at the meeting lauded APPEALS for the gesture stating that it will in no small way assist farmers and keep them up to date with daily activity in their farms.
Stephen Olufemi, General Secretary, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) Lagos State chapter, said most farmers do not know how to keep records and the fact that a farmer does not know how to keep records will make the farmer run at a loss.
“Before Lagos will come to our aid in buying equipment and inputs, they want to make sure that we know how to make our records clean, that is why they are doing this. The moment we know what we are doing and we know how to keep records definitely whatever government incentives or government help on our side we will be able to use it well,” he said.
Dr. Femi Oke, Chairman All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Lagos State chapter said that record keeping to farmers is very important, that there is no business one can do without keeping records.
He said that some farmers have been keeping records but that they might not have been doing it properly as it should be.
“we are happy that APPEALS project is leading this initiative, that every farmer should have access or should go online to know how to keep records and this will assist farmers to know what they have spent on their farms and know if they have made profit or not.
“It will also guide farmers if they want to make request for loans. Record keeping is very important. We appreciate APPEALS project for what they have done in sensitising our farmers on record keeping,” he added.
Godwin Egbebe, Chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria PAN Lagos State chapter stated that without record keeping it will be difficult for Banks to deal with any farmer.
“Without your records the banks cannot deal with you; they will not know maybe you will be able to manage the funds you are coming to ask for and most times farmers will say banks are not giving loans, but if they have seen your records, even if you are making losses and they look at the reason why you are making those losses, they can still give you loan, but the only thing is that they are going to tell you how you are going to mitigate those areas. Record keeping is very apt and important,” he said.
Nurudeen Tiamiyu, National Vice President, Tilapia Aquaculture Developers Association of Nigeria (TADAN) said the APPEALS project has done a very great job, that when talking about sustainability, the most critical part of it is record.
“Your record determines your engagement in terms of what you need and how you need them in terms of financing and in terms of being in constant touch with insurance because you will be able to say you are insuring your farm, for instance if you have mortality and the insurance comes, you will have to show your record.
“Your record gives you the trend of what is happening in your farm, so you will be able to react quickly and not at the tail end or you don’t have what you are looking at on a daily basis, because if you look at it on a daily basis and you see that your feed input is going lower, you should know there is a challenge, is either your stock is not eating very well or you have mortality. If it is going higher it shows that whether they are doing better or theft on your farm or stock, those things matters a lot for making a farmer sustainable which is the theme of the APPEALS project,” he added.
In the same vein, Nurat Atoba, President, Lagos State Catfish and Allied Farmers Association of Nigeria (LASCAFAN), stated that the launch of the book is a great development to farmers because there is no way one can do farming or any business in this modern day without keeping records.
“If you keep records properly you will be able to know if you are making profit on the job or not. You will know how much you have invested in your farm and then how much you will be able to sell your farm produce,” she said.