As a means of supporting livelihood to host communities impacted by the 54km gas pipeline to the Fertiliser plant, Dangote Fertiliser limited (DFL) embarked on a programme to empower 150 Project Affected Persons(PAPs) through a cassava enterprises programme.
The programme was geared towards mitigating the negative impact of the land acquired for the pipeline construction, whilst also supporting impacted farmers to improve farming practices in other to increase yield and income.
The programme, which is being implemented by external consultants, HarvestPlus in conjunction with the DFL Social team, involves capacity building for farmers and potential entrepreneurs for by- products of cassava and cassava stems cells.
Consequently, agro enterprise was set up for the beneficiaries where improved cassava stem bundles were delivered to farmers for planting and weed control task force were set up as well as the establishment of cassava combobite chips processors.
The company’s host communities comprises of five Local Government and Local Council Development Areas (LCDA), which includes, Ibeju Lekki, Lekki LCDA, Epe, Eredo and Ikosi.
It would be recalled that in 2019, Dangote started the installation of 54km gas pipeline along Epe axis, to transport gas to its fertiliser plant.
The pipeline Right of Way(RoW) impacted some communities, along with farmers whose farmlands and crops were affected. Lagos State Government in collaboration with DFL undertook the land acquisition process after which compensation was paid. To further support impacted farmers, DFL decided to embark on the Farmer Livelihood Support Programme.
Speaking at a ceremony where cassava stems, combobite processing equipment and weed control equipment were donated to the beneficiaries, General Manager, Human Asset Management, Dangote Fertiliser Limited, Akin Oladiran, stated that the company in partnership with Harvest Plus is working towards enhancing food availability across the communities.
“Food is very important for survival. We understand some persons have been impacted as a result of the installation of the pipeline, but we want to ensure these impacts are addressed quickly.
“We want to eliminate the impact completely. We are also using this programme to further support the means of livelihood of Project Affected Persons.
“We are ensuring food sufficiency as well as creating wealth for every individual in the community.”
Speaking further, he noted that the company is currently working on increasing the yields of farmers through the utilisation of fertiliser.
In his words: “If the soil yield is 80 percent, we are assuring you that before the next one month, we are going to bring a product that will increase the soil yield to 100 percent.
“The factory is at an advanced stage and we going into the production stage of our fertilizer.”
The Chairman of Eredo LCDA, Adeniyi Rasaq, stated that, “35 percent of the working population in Nigeria are farmers which means that almost half of Nigerian population are farmers.
“Of the 33 percent of the landmass, about 55 percent of the area are yet to be cultivated. This means there is vast potential for grooming a lot of farmers and creating an image of a farming division.
“We want to be known for agriculture and tourism, and what Dangote is doing is not just CSR, is also helping the division to discover its potential in farming and also helping us harness what we have which is land. We are the last to develop in Lagos. Dangote group is God sent.
“We want Dangote to lead change in this division. There are a lot of organisations apart from Dangote group, the question is what are they doing?
“If the factories and institutions situated in Epe are learning from what Dangote is doing, maybe our story will be different.
“Beyond giving these farmers expertise and competence and helping them understand revolutionary ways of farming, we also want Dangote to invest in infrastructure across this division,” Rasaq added.
Group Social Manager, Group Health, Safety, Social and Environment (HSSE), Dangote Industries Limited, Adenike Olaoye said that the programme is already yielding results as some local entrepreneurs have already sprung up.
She also mentioned that the organisation is exploring the option of working with other investors in the Free Trade Zone in order to develop a robust integrated community development plan.
‘We believe in developing the capabilities of local institutions within our host communities in order to enable them drive their own development. We do not give our host communities fish, we teach them how to fish thereby ensuring sustainable development”.
She further added that the organisation already has a 5 year community development plan and implementation of that plan started 2 years ago In Lekki. She ended her speech by imploring communities to be patient as development takes time.