By Mudiaga Affe
The Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Mr. Olusegun Onamuti, recently disclosed that the state needed 257,000 tonnes of fish annually to meet the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 15kilogramme/caput fish consumption.
Currently, the state produces 157,000 tons of fish annually and needs an additional 100,000 tons of fish production annually to meet the WHO recommendation.
Onamuti, who made this disclosure at the 6th Annual Executive Weekend Training on Investment Opportunities in Fish Farming, said with 22 per cent of its land mass covered by water, the state had abundant potential for fishing, which had been the major pre-occupation of the people.“It is, however, sad to note that due to a number of factors which include pollution, high cost of fishing inputs, use of obnoxious fishing methods, rural-urban drift and over fishing, among others, the state has not been able to meet its demand for fish.
This scenario necessitated a shift in policy focus by the Lagos State Government from capture fisheries to fish farming, which is a more environmentally friendly means of fish production,” he said. Onamuti disclosed that in the last five years, over 400 people had been trained with multiplier effects on capacity building, employment generation, poverty alleviation and wealth creation, adding that this year’s training had been specially designed to accommodate and elucidate latest advances and technologies towards improved fish production.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Co-operatives, Chief Enock Ajiboso, said Lagos had many agricultural areas investors could tap into and make a fortune out of fish farming, which had a large market in the state.
According to him, investors could explore the opportunity to invest in the state’s Marine Agricultural Development programme, which involves the use of open water bodies for the commercial vulture of fish in fish cages and pens.
He, however, disclosed that there was collaboration between the state government and the University of Lagos on the utilisation of the university Lagoon front for the setting up of a fish cage culture system for research and educational purposes.
The commissioner also said that investors could invest in the state’s fish farm estate development, an initiative designed as a tool for accelerated fish production targeted at the low-income group such as artisans, fishermen, school leavers as well as high income groups and corporate bodies. On the Ketu-Ereyun Fish Farm Estate in Ikosi-Ejinrin Local Council Development Area, Ajiboso stated that the estate situated on 60 hectares farmland was designed to accommodate 400 production plots.
The commissioner implored investors to take advantage of this offer, “an offer that assures a residence and income-generating facility at the same time. The state government will continue to provide the enabling environment to boost agricultural production in the state in all its ramifications.”
Source: Punch Newspapers, Nigeria. Images: i.telegraph.co.uk