by Friday Imoni-Atebafia
An AfLIA Leadership Academy Cohort 1 project
Friday Imoni-Atebafia, is a public librarian from the Sapele branch of Delta State Library Board, and a participant of AfLIA Leadership Academy. His library offers mainly readers and reference services. In a typical week, about 350 (three hundred and fifty) persons use the library facilities. Friday embarked on a project titled “Improving Fish farming and productivity in Sapele Community and its environs”.
Sapele is an agrarian community in Delta state of Nigeria with an estimated population of 174,273. The community is made up of peasant farmers and artisanal fishermen with pockets of civil servants and petty traders. However, the negative effects of oil exploitation, such as environmental pollution, has badly affected the farming and fishing occupations in a city well known for timber and rubber plantations. At present, community members now do their fishing outside of the river and streams which have become polluted because of oil drilling and associated activities.
With the background coupled with all that he learnt from the AfLAc Cohort 1 Convening, Friday took steps by carrying out a project that would transform his community by empowering community members with other livelihood options. He decided to connect the different stakeholders in the fish farming business for information that can help the farmers improve their yields through learning new farming methods and by accessing loans, especially the female fish farmers. He also sought to help more people explore fish farming as alternate source of income, especially for those that were not already into it.
What did Friday do?
He spent days and weeks getting to know and collecting information from the fish farmers and leaders in his community, the government officials in the Local government area in charge of agriculture and also from banks on how they can grant loans to farmers. He then held a ‘Connect Seminar’ in the Library to bring all these groups in his community together. The outcome of the seminar was impressive. There were several contacts from those who were in attendance. MRS. ARIES INABA EGWUTERAI and MR. THOMAS AIRAOJE made contacts and received information that enabled them to secure loans from the bank for starting their own fish ponds.
Above: Some beneficiaries of the Connect Seminar alongside the fish ponds they started
The project strives to drive the attainment of SDGs 1 & 2 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of Nigeria. SDGs2 – ‘End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. In particular, the project addresses Target 3 – ‘By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment’. The project also focuses on Aspiration 1, AU 2063 Agenda – ‘A prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development’ especially the Goal of ‘Modern agriculture for increased productivity and production’ and the Priority Area of ‘Agricultural productivity and production’. The project also answers to the Nigerian Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020) which has prioritization of food security as a fundamental national objective as stated in 3.1.1 – ‘Enhancing productivity by improving access to land, information, knowledge, and inputs, soil fertility, production management, storage, processing, marketing and trade’ (Ministry of Budget and National Planning, 2017).
Ministry of Budget and National Planning (2017). Economic Recovery & Growth Plan 2017-2020. http://www.nationalplanning.gov.ng/images/docs/ERGP%20%20CLEAN%20COPY.pdf Accessed September 28, 2018.