Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra on Saturday inaugurated a modern fish feed production plant valued at N1.2 billion in Onitsha to boost fish business in the state.
The private plant is owned by Grand Cereals Ltd., a Nigerian integrated foods company that produces and markets consumer food products.
The firm, which is a subsidiary of Nigeria’s oldest and versatile conglomerate, UAC of Nigeria Plc., produces Vital Fish Feed brand.
Obiano commended the firm, saying the project was an outcome of an earlier engagement between the government and the firm in 2015.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, said his administration was already partnering with the firm to integrate farmers into the project.
“We expect the facility to expand to employ more people and to ensure that the state is self-sufficient in fish production,’’ he said.
In a remark, the Acting Deputy Managing Director, Grand Cereals Ltd., Mr Sanjeen Jain, explained that the company would begin production of 2,500 tonnes of fish feeds per month.
In spite of its production capacity, Jain said Nigeria currently has a supply gap of about 2.1 million tonnes of fish.
“Grand Cereals will continue to contribute its own quota to the development of agriculture value chain in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Jain, however, said that prospects in the aquaculture sector could improve if government sustains its ban on the importation of frozen fish and poultry products into Nigeria and aggressive action against smugglers.
He called for the provision of new fish farming estates with laid-out farming plots and support services with accelerated grant of Certificates of Occupancy for small and medium-sized farmers.
Also speaking, the National President of Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Rotimi Olibale, urged Grand Cereals to continue to partner farmers to tackle challenges in the business.
Olibale said that the Vital Fish Feeds produced by Grand Cereals were of good quality and were being recertified yearly to maintain the quality.