Lagos to host seafood festival, moves to bridge gap of 226, 000mt in fish demand

Lagos Government has promised to increase its fish production by at least 60,000 metric tonnes to bridge the huge demand-deficit in the state.

Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, addressing the media, Thursday, in Lagos during a news conference to unveil the forthcoming Lagos Seafood Festival coming scheduled for Sunday, 13th December 2020, at the Muri Okunola Park, Lagos

Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, stated this, Thursday, in Lagos at a news conference to unveil the forthcoming Lagos Seafood Festival coming up on Sunday, 13th December 2020, at the Muri Okunola Park, Lagos.

Olusanya said that the current production is about 174,000 metric tonnes of fish annually while the demand stands at over 400,000 metric tonnes, hence the need to address the huge deficit of over 226,000 metric tonnes.

Explaining that the additional 60,000 metric tonnes of fish would include both fingerlings and table size production, Olusanya stated that “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 as a state is roughly at about 174,000 metric tonnes so there is a huge deficit of about 226,000 metric tonnes”.

She said that with additional production at the Lagos Aquaculture Centre (LACE), the State would harvest over 60,000 metric tonnes of fish over a period of time, through registered and artisanal fishermen.

The Commissioner disclosed that the registration of fishermen has commenced in the five divisions of the State to capture the youths, adding that the target is to register over 10,000 in the process.

In her words: “As we speak, we have partnered with some Private Financial Institutions and right now registrations are ongoing in some fishing locations in the five divisions of the State – Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos and Epe.

“Right now, the private financial institution is registering youths in Ikeja, we are concentrating on the youth because they will take over from the ageing fisher-folks who do not have records and details that we can trace back to them in terms of capturing and empowerment”, Olusanya noted.

According to her, this year edition of the Seafood Festival focuses on the need to harness the seafood potentials of the State in a post COVID-19 economy, assuring that synergic relationship for the overall development of the seafood subsector will be initiated with fisher-folks for a regular supply of fish and fishery products during and after the Festival.

Reiterating that Lagos is a cosmopolitan city that is synonymous with seafood production, the Commissioner said that the fact is reinforced by the depiction of fishing in the State’s Coat of Arms with a total of 8,844 registered fishermen in 164 Fishermen Cooperative Societies residing in 325 fishing communities across the state.

“Also 3,600 fish farmers and 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 aquacultural heritage in an atmosphere of commerce and entertainment”, she noted.

Olusanya said 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.

Projecting that this year’s festival would create 150 direct and indirect job opportunities through increased marketing opportunities, setup and dismantling of equipment for the festival, engagement of technicians to operate equipment and other support services required, the Commissioner disclosed that 30 fishermen groups, processors and 10 vendors are expected to take part in the festival in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

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