By Lexi Elo
LAGOS (Sundiata Post) – The Lagos State Government has reiterated its commitment to support fish farming in its bid to address the decline in supply of captured fish over the years, the permanent secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olajide Basorun has said.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 11th Annual Executive Training on Investment Opportunities in Fish Farming at the weekend where 89 people were trained in fish farm production techniques, Basorun restated the state government’s commitment to facilitate capacity building for fish farmers and create ground for easy access to credit facilities.
“Government will continue to create enabling and conducive environment, facilitate capacity building and create ground for easy access to credit facility for fish farmers so as to reduce cost of production and enhance their profitability,” he said.
The permanent secretary explained that the reduction in fish supply was due to a number of factors which includes pollution, high cost of fishing input and use of obnoxious fishing methods, rural urban drift and over fishing among others.
He noted that traditionally Lagosians have always been fisher men but over the years the catches had been dwindling; thus prompting government to introduce fish farming about 20 years ago to address the dwindling supply of fishes in the state.
Basorun noted that the executive training on farming was conceived 11 years ago to expose participants to the new investment opportunities in the fisheries value chain and build capacities of practising fish farmers for enhanced productivity.
The permanent secretary said food security was one of the cardinal programmes of the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, adding that strategies were in place that would engender sustainable food production and ensure that the citizens are well fed.
According to him, “one of the major principles of attaining food security is to look at those areas where we have comparative and competitive advantage and focus on them, one of those areas is aquaculture because over 22% of the entire land mass of Lagos is cover by water and we have a 180 kilometer coastline”.
Speaking earlier at the event, the special guest of honour, who is a veteran fish farmer and a former permanent secretary in the Lagos State Civil Service, Mrs. Adedoyin Olusoga, said the downward trend in the fish supply over the years has necessitated the massive importation of fish, adding that “this is a big drain on the scarce foreign exchange, hence aquaculture or fish farming has been identified as the next viable option for increasing domestic fish production”.
She said Lagos State requires about 330,000 metric tonnes annually to satisfy the dietary needs of its citizen and the total aggregate domestic fish supply from all sources is about 176,850 tonnes per annum.
She added the government realised the huge potential for increasing fish production and has initiated developmental projects that make aquaculture popular as a tool for sustainable fish production and creating employment.
Olusoga advised government to continue to create an enabling environment for private sector to invest in fish feeds production, saying that this would ultimately lower the cost of fish production as feed constitutes 70% of the recurrent cost in fish farming.
“Establishment of a fish market for cultured fishes would create appropriate pricing mechanism and bring more profit to the producers”, she opined.
The three weeks executive programme trained 89 participants from different walk of life, including retired civil servants.
By Lexi Elo