Lagos Set to Establish a Fish Production Centre
Lagos State Government is set to establish Lagos Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (L.A.C.E) to boost to the fast-growing fisheries sector in the state.
Governor, Babjide Sanwo-Olu, disclosed this over the weekend at the year 2020 edition of the Lagos Seafood Festival held at the Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island.
The Governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, explained that the Centre was part of wider government efforts to modernise the management and monitoring of the aquaculture and marine fisheries sector that has grown rapidly to place the state among the world’s top fishery producers.
He said that the present supply of fish and other seafood products in the State was insufficient to meet the fish and seafood demands of Lagosians hence the need to have a private sector driven aquaculture centre.
The Governor explained that; “We estimated the present supply of fish and other seafood at 174,553 tons per annum to be insufficient for Lagosians; therefore we have collaborated with a Private Sector Investor on the establishment of the Lagos Aquaculture Centre of Excellence to boost fish production.
“This project includes the establishment of a 50 million fish hatchery facility, projected 2000 tonnes per annum table sized fish production schedule, 24000 tons per annum fish feed mill and a 20000 tonnes per annum fish and seafood processing centre.
“The Aquaculture Centre of Excellence is expected to generate about 5000 smallholder fish farms which should create 1000 indirect jobs during the construction phase and 500 direct job opportunities for people that would be engaged at different phases of the project,” He said.
Sanwo-Olu opined that the reality is that the State with a population of more than 22 million and a consumer demand for fish and other seafood of 374,000 tonnes annually while supply hovers around 155, 262 tonnes per annum,
“It is important that Lagosians key into and benefit from the value chain attached to the aquatic or fisheries business sector in order to fill the supply deficit.”
He noted that the Festival would be quite unique next year as the State Government would be employing the use of the deep-sea trawling in order to capture the big fishes in the deeper sea in Lagos.
“Next year by the grace of God, we will engage in the deep-sea trawling that allows us to go inner and get the bigger fishes. That along with our other interventions would allow us to employ close to 10,000 youths in the five divisions of the State,” he said.
He added that the Lagos Seafood Festival has become a pedestal for talented Lagosians to display their culinary skills in preparing salivating dishes with the abundant aquatic species from the environment.
According to him, the year 2020 had presented everyone with challenges that brought out the depth and resilience of character as a people hence the Seafood Festival was a fitting occasion to celebrate the resilient spirit of the people even as we all look forward to the prosperous and fulfilling Year 2021.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, in her welcome address, stressed that the contribution of the fisheries value chain to the nation’s socio-economic wealth could not be overemphasized particularly against the background of employment creation, provision of valuable animal protein, rural development and foreign exchange inflow through the export of shrimps, smoked fish and other fish products.
She explained that in 2019 alone, 5,000 tonnes of seafood valued at over N25Billion were exported by operators in Nigeria.
“It is in recognition of this fact, that the State Government is currently implementing various projects in the fisheries ecosystem that will drive increased food production and socio-economic transformation of the rural areas of the State.
“These projects include the establishment of Fish Farm Estate Projects, provision of fishing inputs to fishermen in the State; establishment of the Cage culture System, as well as the establishment of Farmers’ Mart to serve as a marketing centre for agriculture products,” She stated.
The Commissioner noted that the Festival had an array of stands ranging from fresh and processed seafood such as croaker, grunter, red snapper and tiger prawns, seafood culinary service providers and vendors of assorted beverages to a family fun park and kiddies area.