A Public Private Partnership to mass produce fish for local consumption and export has taken off in Lagos State.
The initiative which will fetch the federal government 30 percent returns on investment, investors 40 percent and project promoter 30 percent over the next ten years, is located at Igbo-Olomi Ibeju-Lekki area of the state.
Mr. Segun Kowontan, President, Project Fix Nigeria Limited, disclosed this during visit of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Industry and Lagos State Government, to the World Bank/ETF assisted fish/livestock farm facilities.
He said,” the federal government has handed over the facilities to us under PPP arrangement. We signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government less than a year ago. Under the arrangement, the federal government said okay, I have 30 percent of the return on investment, the investors 40 percent and the project promoters 30 percent.”
According to him, over 2,000 individuals and cooperative societies have invested in the scheme. We have Leadway Assurance Plc, NAFDAC, Federal College of Fisheries, and with NAFDAC involvement, we will ensure that the quality of fish production is enhanced so that when you are doing the export leg of it, you don’t get to the entry point and it’s rejected.
“Cooperative societies come in with their funds, they are not paying rents, they don’t need to buy land, dig ponds and provide generators and water and other infrastructure, and their direct monies go into fish productions straight away. “Right now we are producing 500-600kg of smoked fish. We have discovered that markets are not buying 1kg, 2kg: because people don’t want to buy very big fish. They want something that can go round the family.
That is why we are producing 500-600 kg,” he said. He stressed, “The mandate of this project under Public-Private Partnership is to provide platform for cooperatives and associations to go into fish farming. The company is also engaging with cattle association, poultry, and crab and polonies too.
There is a process to provide them platforms to produce.” Dr (Mrs.) Ada Momah, Principal Manager, Central Bank of Nigeria, lauded the scheme and noted: “We want every fish farmer in Lagos to be on board for CBN Anchor Borrowers scheme. We have been having meetings with fish farmers in Lagos and we want you inside that platform for us to work together as a family and make sure Lagos comes up strong in fish production.” Mr. Waheed Olagunju, Acting Managing Director, Bank of Industry, stated “This is a bold step being taken at ensuring self-reliance and food security and fishing is a business on its own, it is an industry and a good way of diversifying our economy. We are more of an agrarian country than an oil producing country. “When we had more money than sense in those days” we were importing fish. We have water all over the place; we can produce our own fish and feed ourselves.
He told the fishing community that the bank supports production and value-addition projects, and the only sector where we are involved in primary production is fish and aquaculture. That is also because of the perishable nature of the product. Unless you do the processing very close to where you are harvesting, you will have a lot of post-harvest losses.
We are to finance potential3y initiatives and that is why we have taken time to be here and listen to every stage of what you explained. While listening, we try to identify the risks along the line while looking out for the opportunities. We are lenders and whatever money we provide must come back. “