In a bid to address the decline in supply of fish in the state, the Lagos State Government has reiterated its readiness to support fish farming by creating an enabling and conducive environment, facilitating capacity building for fish farmers as well as creating easy access to credit facilities.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olajide Basorun, who disclosed this at the closing of the 11th Annual Executive Training on Investment Opportunities in Fish Farming, where 89 persons were trained in production techniques, said the aim of the support is to reduce the cost of fish production and enhance 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 ancient fishing methods, rural urban drift and over fishing, among others.
He noted that traditionally, Lagosians have always been fishermen, but over the years volume of fish caught has been dwindling; thus prompting the state to introduce fish farming about 20years ago to address the dwindling supply.
Basorun said 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 farming 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 to 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 per cent of the land mass of Lagos is covered by water and we have a 180-kilometer coastline”.
Speaking earlier, the Special Guest of Honor, who is a veteran fish farmer and a former Permanent Secretary in the State Civil Service, Mrs. Adedoyin Olusoga, said the downward trend in 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 the state requires about 330,000 metric tonnes annually to satisfy the dietary needs of its citizens and the aggregate domestic fish supply from all sources is about 176,850 tonnes per annum.
Olusoga added that the government has realised the huge potential for increasing fish production and has initiated developmental projects that make aquaculture popular and as a tool for sustainable fish production and employment creation.