Lagos State Government, on Wednesday, signed a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Dula Agro-Services Limited for the establishment of the Lagos Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (L.A.C.E) Project, an Aquaculture Production and Processing Centre.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji, signed on behalf of the State Government while the Chief Operating Officer/Director, Mr. Israel Tommy and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Adeyemi Adeshina both signed on behalf of Dula Agro-Services Limited.
Ms. Olusanya noted that the Centre, upon completion, would produce 50 million fingerlings per annum; 2,000 tons of table-sized fish per annum; 20,000 tons processed fish per annum and 24,000 tons fish feed per annum, adding that the latest technology – Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) and Semi-flow through Systems – will be deployed for the project.
The Commissioner envisaged that the Centre would generate no fewer than 5,000 smallholder fish farms and, in turn, create about 1,000 indirect jobs during the construction phase, plus another 500 direct job opportunities for people that would be engaged at different phases of the project.
According to her, the Centre is designed to have a hatchery, grow out, processing facilities, feed mill to produce fish feed for the facility, among other inputs along the process.
She added that the Centre will conduct research and training focused on farming practices, business skills and other areas that are at the core of sustainable fish production.
According to Olusanya, the LACE Project will anchor the growth and development of aquaculture; drive the diversification of farmed fish species; contribute towards food security; support 5,000 fish farmers; conduct extensive research and training focused on aquaculture farming practices in the State.
Her words: “The annual fish demand in Lagos State is estimated at 374,000 tonnes of which 174,553 tonnes (or 46%) is produced from both captured fisheries and aquaculture annually. Therefore, the need to upscale fish production to bridge the shortfall between the demand and supply gap necessitated the obligation to engage in strategic partnerships with innovative companies that have expertise in Agricultural-based developmental projects such as aquaculture”.
“The Value Chain is now a multi-billion Naira industry in the State, which provides employment opportunities for thousands of Lagosians. As the fastest growing sub-sector of the agro-economy in the State, aquaculture has positioned Lagos on the map of agrarian States in the country. The subsector, therefore, presents a huge potential for economic development, food security, provision of basic income and livelihoods for value chain actors and support the transformation of the fisheries ecosystem in State”, she said.
The project is a joint-finance venture by the State Government and private sector investor, under a Pubic-Private Partnership arrangement. It will be located on a 35-hectare parcel of land at Igbonla in the Eredo Local Council Development Area of the State.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Director-General, Office Public-Private Partnerships, Mr. Ope George, representatives of the Ministry of Justice and other top State Government functionaries.