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Lagos okays N10b for fish centre

The Lagos State is establishing a N10 billion Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (LACE) to encourage local production and support the Federal Government’s move to stop fish import by 2022.

This is coming on the heels of the latest report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that global consumption of fish is set to rise, highlighting the need to ensure sustainable fisheries management.

The state government also raised hope of rehabilitating state-owned estates fallen into dilapidation.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who spoke in Lagos yesterday at the distribution of agricultural input and productive assets to 2743 farmers under the 2020 agricultural value chains empowerment programme, explained that the project would be located on a 35-hectare land in Igbonla in Epe under a Public-Private partnership arrangement.

Represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, the governor said  the project was designed to boost the growth and development of aquaculture industry in the state through the production of 2,000 tonnes of fish yearly, provision of input to fish farmers under the Lagos Nucleus Farms (LANS) scheme and serve as off-taker for fish farm clusters.

“The experience of the past few months during the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 Pandemic has further reinforced the urgent need to expand the State’s food production base to meet such spontaneous increase in demand for food in the future.

“In line with this realisation and to ensure sustained food production and supply in the State, we are establishing the Lagos Food Production Centres in Badagry and Epe.

The two centres will ensure the resuscitation, expansion, stocking of agricultural production facilities in various value chains and also develop Agro-Tourism centres in Lagos State Songhai project in Badagry and the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe,” he added.

He explained that the two centres would ensure the resuscitation, expansion, stocking of agricultural production facilities in various value chains.

The state Commissioner for Housing, Moruf Akinderu Fatai, who raised hope of rehabilitating the housing estates in the state spoke during a meeting with the Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Housing, Bisi Yussuf and other members of the Committee including Desmond Olusola Elliot.

Akinderu-Fatai said: “The state government is committed to its pledge of provision of decent housing for the people and is constantly evolving strategies both to build more new homes and to renew the old estates like the  Alaka Estate .”

He said the state will do its best to protect the affected residents from the inconveniences that would come up as a result of their temporary evacuation from the  homes in order to make way for the redevelopment of the distressed structures.

Earlier, the State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya explained that agriculture was not only a major source of employment for Lagosians but also vital to the promotion of food security as it plays a crucial role in increasing quantity, quality and diversity of food supply which ultimately improves the nutritional status of the people.

She noted that the Empowerment was a means of channeling needed support to smallholder farmers who are actively engaged in the various Agricultural Value Chains thereby creating further wealth and job opportunities while delivering optimum economic benefits to farmers and other operators.

“The overall aim of the Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme is to provide the necessary agricultural inputs and productive assets to farmers as a means of achieving improved food production and supply as well as delivering optimum economic benefits to farmers and other operators.”

“It therefore follows that interventions to enhance agricultural productivity would raise the income level of the rural population thereby creating further wealth in farming communities,” Olusanya averred.

The Acting Commissioner revealed that the Empowerment was not only targeted at farmers who are the direct beneficiaries, but also at service providers, transporters, input manufacturers and suppliers within the system whose services are required for the successful implementation of the project.

Olusanya disclosed that since the inception of the project in 2014, a total of 11,233 farmers, fishermen, butchers, processors and marketers have since been empowered.

Also speaking, a member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Kehinde Joseph called for the legislation of the Value Chain Empowerment Programme so that it could outlive every government bearing in mind the importance of the Programme in achieving food security in the state.

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