Lagos state government has disclosed plans to increase its fish production by at least 60,000 metric tonnes in 2021 to bridge the huge deficit in the state’s demand for fish. The State Government also said that it had upscaled the Maputo Declaration benchmark of 10 percent budget for agriculture by member-countries from one percent to two percent.
It will be recalled that in July 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria, agreed to the African Union (AU) Maputo Declaration on Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which means setting aside 10 percent of its annual budget to develop the agriculture sector and ensure food security in member-countries.
The Lagos state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, disclosed this in Lagos at a news conference to unveil the forthcoming 2020 Annual Lagos Seafood Festival coming up on Sunday, December 13, at the Muri Okunola Park, Lagos.
Olusanya said the state is committed to upscaling the Maputo Declaration budget benchmark on the agricultural sector, to enhance the development of the sector as well as create jobs for the teeming youth population of the state. “The present administration led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has raised the bar from erstwhile one percent of the benchmark to two percent and we are still upscaling the target,” Olusanya stated.
She said the state currently produces about 174,000 metric tonnes of fish annually, while the current demand stood at over 400,000 metric tonnes, hence, the need to address the huge deficit of over 226,000 metric tonnes. The commissioner said that the additional 60,000 metric tonnes of fish would include both fingerlings and table size production. “The target is to increase our production. The demand for fish in Lagos is well over 400,000 metric tonnes and what we are producing is roughly at about 174,000 metric tones, so there is a huge deficit of about 226,000 metric tonnes.
“In terms of the target, we just ended our five-year master plan roadmap strategy document which will be unveiled by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the plan is to cover the deficit by a certain percentage. “Already, the Lagos Aquaculture Centre for Excellence, which was mentioned during the governor’s budget reading, states that for the project alone, we should be adding over 60,000 metric tonnes of fish, both fingerlings and table size production, to what already exists in Lagos. “Outside of what we want to do with our fisher-folks in terms of them increasing production and aquaculture products as well as in terms of the support, we will like to give to them to create additional farm estates. “We would be able to increase our fish production by at least 50,000 to 60,000 metric tonnes in year 2021,” she added.
Olusanya said that with additional production from the Lagos Aquaculture Centre (LACE), the state would produce over 60,000 metric tonnes of fish over a period of time which would be produced by registered fishermen, artisanal fishermen and the Lagos aquaculture centre.
The Commissioner, stressed that the state had commenced registration of fishermen in the five divisions of the state to capture the youths adding that the target was to register over 10,000 in the process.
According to her, this year’s edition of the Festival focuses on the need to harness seafood potentials of the state in a post-COVID-19 economy adding that synergic relationships for the overall development of the seafood subsector will be initiated with fisher-folks for regular supply of fish and fisheries products during and after the Festival. “Lagos State is a cosmopolitan City that is synonymous with seafood production. This fact is reinforced by the depiction of fishing in the State’s Coat of Arms – an old-time preoccupation of Lagosians, especially those living around the coastal, estuarine and riverine areas.
“There is a total of 8,844 registered fishermen in 164 Fishermen Cooperative Societies live in 325 fishing communities across the State. “Also 3,600 fish farmers, 26,500 processors have been identified in the value chain. The state is also home to 60 percent of the nation’s commercial activities mixed with fashion and entertainment. “The Lagos Seafood Festival provides the nexus for the celebration of the state’s aqua cultural heritage in an atmosphere of commerce and entertainment,” the Commissioner noted.
She recalled that the celebration of the Lagos Seafood Festival started in 2012 with the aim of showcasing Lagos aquaculture and seafood potentials to the local and international markets as well as stimulate investors’ interest in the fisheries business. Olusanya stated that it is projected that this year’s festival would create 150 direct and indirect job opportunities as a result of increased marketing opportunities, setup and dismantling of equipment for the festival, technicians to operate equipment and other hands engaged to provide support services. She disclosed that 30 fishermen groups, processors and 10 vendors are expected to take part in the festival in compliance with the social distancing protocols.