Lagos- Abisola Olusanya, Lagos State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture has said that Lagos state is striving to be a value addition state especially for agricultural products which would translate to more foreign exchange earnings, food sufficiency, food security, increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and subsequently provide more profit and improved livelihood for farmers.
She stated this during the Quarterly Forum for Fish and Crop Farmers organised by the Lagos State Agricultural Inputs Supply Authority (LAISA) at the Odogunyan Fish Farm Estate, Ikorodu at the weekend.
Olusanya said that the state government will establish a processing center for the fisheries and aquaculture sector in order to off take the produce from registered farm clusters and fish farm estates to help set profit margins for the farmers.
She said this was necessary because the State had realized that a lot of the fish farmers had the problem of market and sales.
“Lagos is tirelessly working on being a value addition State for agricultural products. It should be a processing State, which is why it is imperative that we set up a large processing facility for the fisheries and aquaculture sector such that what we have to do is to mop up offtake from farm clusters such as this Fish Farm Estate here at a pegged price so that the farmers can have a price point at which they will be selling.”
“By that, there will be a guaranteed profit margin that they can begin to enjoy and for that reason, they would be able to increase production, since they are sure of an off taker,” she said.
According to her, there were quite a number of small clusters of smallholder farmers in the fisheries and aquaculture sector stressing that because of lack of clarity around the margins that they could make, their productivity level has always remained low.
She added that based on the price that they would have to sell, the State Government has decided that it was a critical component to put a processing approach to it in order to alleviate poverty among the farmers.
Olusanya explained that the establishment of the Processing Center, which would be on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and has the capacity to process no fewer than 20,000 metric tons of fish that would be sent to other State within Nigeria or even exported out of the Country, was ongoing and would be kick-started this year.