—FG Reaffirms Efforts To Stop Fish Importation, Improve Agric Investments
As part of its commitment towards growing the economy through value-focused productivity, the Triton Aqua Limited, has inaugurated dispatch facilities at its Catfish Farm in Gambari, Oyo State, to boost its aquaculture investment.
Chairman of Triton Group, Mr. Ashvin Samtani, disclosed that the investment is a multi-million-naira farm project, achieved through the cooperation received from all sides, including some banks, as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
During the tour of the farm, the company revealed that it is the only farm in the region that is fully integrated with about 300 hectares for varieties of crops, 30,000 broilers in their poultry and about 6,000 metric tons of fish.
The Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Heineken Lokpobiri, remarked that though the Triton cat fish farm has the capacity to produce about 6,000 metric tons of fish at the moment, the country still has a deficit of over 2.5m metric tons in fishery, which highlights the opportunities in the sector.
While commending the farm for creating 400 jobs in its one year and four months existence, Lokpobiri appealed to other companies to invest in agriculture instead of oil and also urged banks to grant loans towards agric investments.
He said going forward in regards to forex allocation, government through the ministry has laid down steps for subsequent beneficiaries to also have local investments in the aqua culture sector as a qualifying criteria.
This he noted was part of efforts to ultimately stop the importation of fish, “we do not have forex anymore, so we are trying to see how we can encourage local production, so that within a few years, we can decide not to import fish anymore.”
The negotiation with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reduce the fish quota allocation from three million metric tons to less than a million metric tons by the ministry, he said was another step to look inwards.
The minister, who regretted that Nigeria with a population of about 180 million is faced with the challenge of food insecurity, said, “we have been projected to have a population of 200m in the next four years, hence agriculture is the only profitable and most important investment to grant us food security.”
He identified that Nigeria’s quest to feed herself was not her only challenge, but to as well thrive to feed the whole Africa.
Lokpobiri further remarked that as much as a trillion naira would be injected into the sector after the recapitalization of the bank of agriculture to enhance lending at single digit to farmers, as well as create employment.