The Lagos State Government said that it would continue to seek new ways of utilising its water bodies to develop aquaculture and improve residents’ nutrition. Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, made the assertion at the ongoing capacity building for fish farmers in Topo, Badagry, Lagos state, South-west Nigeria.
The event is organised by the state under World Bank-assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement, Livelihood Support (APPEALS) project.
Onasanya said the government was always working out ways of improving farmers’ standard of living via utilisation of natural endowments.
“We have to improve the nutrition of our people, as well as increase the income of farmers and their standard of living by having more fishes to cultivate to improve their income.
“With the ecology of Lagos State being a coastal and endowed with water bodies, we therefore, need to utilise those water bodies to improve fish production in the state.
“From the Federal Government to all the states in the country, agriculture is the key to development,’’ the permanent secretary said.
He noted that Nigeria needed to reduce its foreign exchange spending on imported agricultural products.
“When you look at the funds expended in importing agriculture commodities and other food products, it is a lot. We can save the country some foreign exchange by improving our agriculture.
By doing so, importation of food products will reduce, and there will be enough money to do other things like road construction,’’ Onasanya explained.
The ongoing APPEALS project in Topo, Badagry, will take farmers through Tilapia Cage Culturing, harvesting, storage, processing, packaging and utilisation of water hyacinth.
The project is a fall out of the Commercial Agriculture Development Project by the World Bank to increase farmer’s productivity.