Ogun State Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment will continue to facilitate access to capital and work with relevant agencies to build the capacity of entrepreneurs in the fish value-chain, to address the 3.5 million metric tonnes deficit the country is currently experiencing.
Commissioner in the Ministry, Mrs. Kikelomo Longe made this pledge while declaring open the State’s 2nd Fish Fair with the theme; “the relevance of Fish production and processing in increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and alleviating unemployment in Nigeria” organised by the Ogun State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA), at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
Mrs. Longe said the Ministry would continue to support entrepreneurs in the fish value-chain, to ensure the country exceeds its current 1.1 million metric tonnes of fish production, stressing that the output of the country’s 12 million farmers has to be improved as part of efforts to guarantee food sufficiency.
“The Ministry would continue to improve the business environment to support more fish farmers and entrepreneurs, so as to ensure the 3.5 million metric tonnes fish deficit is addressed”, she said.
Mrs. Longe added that more entrepreneurs in the fish value-chain needed to embrace processing, stating that it would further enhance the worth of their products, as well as increase the product life.
The Commissioner urged entrepreneurs to take advantage of the State Government-Bank of Industry (BOI) loan, which is available at a single digit interest rate to boost their fish farming and processing business.
She called on Nigerians to continue to consume food produced in the country, adding that this would help create more jobs, alleviate poverty, strengthen the naira and help the economy recover faster from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his remarks, Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, represented by the Director of Fisheries Services in the Ministry, Mrs. Victoria Ojelade, said the State as the foremost fish producer in West Africa, her fish value-chain should be well harnessed.
Earlier in his welcome address, the President OGUNCCIMA, Alhaji Wasiu Olaleye said the second edition of the Fish Fair in the State was organised to be a catalyst for economic growth, stressing that addressing the loss of billions of dollars spent yearly on importation of fish produce would curb unemployment, as well as eradicate poverty.