Lagos State Government has 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, Hakeem Adeniji signed on behalf of the State Government while the Chief Operating Officer/Director, Israel Tommy; and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Adeyemi Adeshina both signed on behalf of Dula Agro-Services Limited (Dula).
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 and it would be using the latest technology in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) and Semi-flow through Systems
The Commissioner opined that Centre is also expected to generate no fewer than 5,000 smallholder fish farms which would in turn create about 1,000 indirect jobs during the construction phase and another 500 direct job opportunities for people who 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 and out growers that will be engaged to produce fish to feed the processing plant.
She added that in addition, the Centre will conduct research and training that are focused on farming practices, business skills and other areas that are at the core of sustainable fish production.
According to Olusanya, the LACE Project would 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 trainings focused on aquaculture farming practices in the State.
“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 in the map of agrarian States in the country.
“The sub sector 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,“ the Commissioner averred.
The project would be jointly financed by the State Government and the private sector investor under the Pubic Private Partnership arrangement and would be located on a 35hectare 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, Ope George, representatives of the Ministry of Justice and other top Government functionaries.