Emmanuel Thomas, Lagos
August 23, 2015 – A veteran fish farmer and former Permanent Secretary in Lagos State, Mrs. Adedoyin Olusoga has said that Lagos State requires about 330,000 metric tonnes of fish to meet up with the dietary needs of residents.
Olusoga who was speaking at the 11th Annual Executive Training on Investment Opportunities in Fish Farming 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 added the government realized 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 enable environment for private sector to invest in fish feeds production, saying that this will 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 will create appropriate pricing mechanism and bring more profit to the producers”, she opined.
She said that the total aggregate domestic fish supply from all sources in Lagos is about 176,850 tonnes per annum.
Speaking at the event in which 89 people were trained in fish farm production techniques, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olajide 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”.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the reduction in fish supply is 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 fishermen but over the years the catches have been dwindling; thus prompting government to introduce fish farming about twenty 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 practicing fish farmers for enhanced productivity.
The Permanent Secretary said food security is one of the cardinal programmes of the present administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode adding that strategies are in place that will engender sustainable food production and ensure that the citizens are well fed.
“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 covered by water and we have a 180 kilometer coastline”.