Today, the seed of LIFA concept, nurtured in the corner of a village in Ibadan, Nigeria, has become a Baobab tree of nutrients for livestock farmers in Africa our knowledge of charity activities and other livelihood advocacy on poultry industry started in Nigeria, like a child’s play, in August 2019 courtesy of the support of Zoetis Alpha initiatives.
In three years, but under harsh environments of the Corona virus (COVID-19) and insurgencies in my home country, LIFA team headed by Dr. Stephen Adejoro traversed the whole length and breadth of Nigeria. This entailed visiting poultry farmers’ gatherings in all six agro-ecological regions and enlightening them on the emerging dangers of climate change to poultry production in the areas of heat stress, flood implications, and the after effects of water pollution, a mycotoxin feed contamination with all their effects on the livability of poultry stocks and their subsequent effects on the farmers’ livelihood.
We reached out to the farmers with our capitalized knowledge from over 40 years of field experiences in practical mitigation of these challenges and with empirical data to convince them. Several challenges of political instability, herdsmen and farmers conflicts that were rampart in the country during this period never stood in the way of our progress because LIFA mission was divine and the Lord really went with us to all our locations in Nigeria.
It is a testimony to state that in all our visitations to the regions all through the year, LIFA programme was never truncated once. In all, LIFA team visited eight different cities in the six agroecologies in the country and attracted over 2000 participants, comprising mainly poultry farmers, veterinarians, animal scientists, and other value chain players in the industry; who participated in this unique programme with outstanding outcomes.
The programme recorded a gender equity participation rate of 60% male to 40% female, and this was highly commended and recommended by our principal Zoetis Alpha initiatives. This recommendation of the Alpha Initiative to the Zoetis Foundation at the close of the programme in Nigeria led us to the start of the extension of the Nigerian success story to other West African countries.
Our West African programme started with six countries in 2022, and these countries are the following:
These events were held in 12 locations in all these countries, and we reached out to over 3000 participants with unique experiences of studying the needs and opportunities abundant in each of these countries that can be shared among livestock farmers in Africa. In all these countries, LIFA has established a structure of country contacts and LIFA volunteers that have been formed into WhatsApp groups to continue knowledge sharing. Besides, all LIFA training was viewed online and is still being followed by the general public.
In 2023, LIFA continued the good work backed up by the Zoetis Foundation to further extend this initiative to another six countries in West Africa, including Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal, as the newest countries visited, with repeated visits to Togo and The Gambia because of their special need to stimulate poultry production.
Again, we reached out to 2762 farmers, and in all these countries, peculiar strengths that can be shared as learning routes were heavily documented. Our programme in 2023 added value to participants by distribution of technical bulletins that can be reviewed after the lectures. This year, participants enjoyed interactive participation as they were formed into syndicate groupings (Focu group discussion) to come up with an inventory of challenges in their various countries.
This innovation brought out the best in the participants, and they all came up with the most common challenges of:
The government and community of poultry farmers, veterinarians, and stakeholders in these countries always appreciate the sacrifice of the leaders of LIFA who took up these trainings to disseminate their gratitude to LIFA. A participant called Solomon, far away from Ivory Coast, wrote this felicitation to LIFA team as an expression of appreciation for the organization and CEO activities in Africa.
Several other commendation messages from countries in West Africa have been received with gratitude to LIFA and her sponsors, especially the Zoetis Foundation. The way forward for LIFA in 2024 is to consolidate this initiative in West Africa and move forward to other regions of Africa, especially East and Central Africa.
I seize this opportunity to commend LIFA team and our contact members in all countries. I wish all participants in our training in West Africa a greater fortune for the year 2024.I want to assure you that LIFA WhatsApp is open for you to share your challenges with us, and I do assure you that we will promptly offer you our advice as charity.