Lagos State Government says it is implementing programmes and projects that would upscale fish production and harness the enormous economic opportunities available in the agricultural value chains in the State.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya, who disclosed this in Lagos over the weekend at the closing ceremony of the 15th Annual Executive Weekend Training on Investment Opportunities in Fish Farming organised by his Ministry noted that these programmers and projects have significantly increased fish production, created jobs and stimulated economic activities in the State.
He identified the programmes and projects to include fish farm estates development; fish cage culture system; training/capacity building programmes; agricultural value chains empowerment and artisanal fisheries development among others.
While admitting that there is still much to be done if the goal of making the State self-reliant in fish production is to be achieved, the Permanent Secretary called for collaborative efforts between the private sector and government in the development of Agricultural Value Chain bearing in mind that the task of food production for Lagosians is quite enormous and as such should not be left for Government alone.
Dr. Onasanya said that fish is a major source of protein that is low in cholesterol compared with beef hence its consumption is healthy adding that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a per capita consumption of 17kg of fish per annum.
“Lagos State with a population of 22 million people is structured to have a fish demand of 374,000 tons per annum as against the current fish production figure of 155,262 tons per annum. The deficit in supply is being met through importation which gulps enormous foreign exchange which the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has estimated at a total sum of USD1 billion,” the Permanent Secretary averred.
According to him, very wide investment opportunities exist within the Agricultural Value Chain both within the country and internationally, especially now that there is the need to increase export of non-oil commodities in order to earn foreign exchange for the financing of the nation’s economy.
Onasanya explained that the 4-day Executive Weekend Training Programmes has been carefully structured to equip participants that include aspiring fish farmers and retiring executives both in the private and public sectors among others with relevant knowledge of best practices in aquaculture; broaden their practical experience in fish juvenile and feed production as well as expose them to investment opportunities available in the fish farming.
“The training programme has a special focus on the overview of Fisheries development in Lagos State; Fish Culture System and Management; Water Quality Management & Disease Control; Prospect of Cage and Pen Culture System in Lagos State; Hatchery Management and Fingerlings Production; Fish Feed Formulation and Nutrition; Fish Farming Insurance and Fish Preservation, Processing, Packaging, Marketing and Export Potentials,” he added.
He then enjoined the 43 participants to make good use of the lessons learnt during their training programme as well as leverage on available government extension services towards successful fish farming businesses.
Since the commencement of the training programme in 2005, no fewer than 912 people have been trained which has contributed to the increased investments in the fish farming value chain in the State.