By Michael Adesanya/Abeokuta
The Ogun State government has entered into partnership with Premium Aquaculture Limited, the largest Tilapia fish farm in Nigeria for food production, employment and training of interested youth in the state.
Leading a team from the Ministry of Agriculture to the aquaculture farm at Oyan Dam yesterday, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina said the partnership was necessitated by the Ogun State’s Covid-19 response plan to support food production and processing locations across the state, which will also enhance its food security drive and promote fishery’s value chain and employment generation.
Odedina described the aquaculture farms visited as potential areas for food value chain opportunity that will train young people, promising that government will provide necessary support for the identified firms to boost its food security agenda and meet the envisaged food crisis after Covid 19.
“Owing to the Covid 19 pandemic and the envisaged food crisis, what we are doing in Ogun State is that we have an approved Agricultural Covid-19 Response Plan and prime among them is to visit all food production and processing locations so that the state will continue to provide support and our revised agenda on Covid 19 will run smoothly, food security will go on as well as our agenda for the youth”, Odedina said.
He expressed the state’s government readiness to support small holder farmers so that they don’t fold up and to teach them on best aquaculture practices to realised the food security agenda, maintaining that the state’s government food security programme will continue, irrespective of the current global challenge.
Odedina further stated that since the beginning of lockdown, government has been visiting some food processing companies in order to see areas of partnership towards ensuring adequate food sufficiency for the youth, maintaining that the Aquaculture Firm, with a production capacity of 10 million Tilapia fish would serve local and international market and provide jobs for the youth.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been visiting food processing companies for possible areas of partnership. We are contributing our quota to food security and how much employment we can generate as they partner with us in training young people”, he said.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Dotun Sorunke also corroborated that the visit was to assess water assets that abound in the state and proffer ways of harnessing them and come out with innovative technology that will benefit youth farmers in the state.
“We are going round to assess water and resources in Ogun State, so we can harness them. The companies here are using innovations and technology in aquaculture and we want our youth to key into it”, he submitted.
Speaking on behalf of the firm, Mr. Govinda Raju Siddagangaiah, who revealed that the farm has 200 metric tons production capacity, said the organisation also produces frozen tilapia fish.
He thanked the team for the visit, promising to do more in order to meet envisaged food needs.