The Lagos State Government(LASG) has called for private sector’s investment and collaboration in its agriculture sector particularly in the Red Meat , Artisanal Fisheries and Livestock Feed Mills value chains.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, stated this in a statement issued to newsmen in Lagos on Sunday. She said that the collaboration was in line with the state government’s five-year strategic agriculture roadmap. She noted that the state government had identified many areas of investment opportunities for the private sector’s participants, particularly, in the three value chains, hence, the need for the collaboration.
According to her, this partnership will increase production in the value chains, stimulate jobs across the value chains, standardise operations in the value chains as well as enhance the GDP of the state. She said that this was in line with the state government’s five-year strategic agriculture roadmap which had identified many areas of investment opportunities for private sector participants. “The objective is to stimulate and encourage more public-private partnerships in the three value chains” she added. According to her, Lagos state is the largest market in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 22million population, we consume food well worth over N5trillion annually and over N8 billion on a monthly basis. “When you consider this pool of transaction happening in Lagos, it shows that we are the market,” she said. Olusanya said that the transactional value for cattle alone in Lagos is worth N328billion. She added that when the red meat transformation agenda comes fully into play, it would help the State Government eliminate logistics costs of transporting cattle.
She also stated that the state was working on harnessing other sectors where it has comparative advantages to further grow its economy with emphasis on the artisanal fisheries sector. According to her, we may be a very small state, but we are still agrarian; the value chain of comparative advantage to us is fisheries. “It means that we can begin to harness potential around the fisheries sector. Lagos has over 22 per cent of the water bodies in Nigeria. For instance, we demand over 400,000 metric tons of fish on an annual basis. But our fishermen and our aquaculture farmers are only able to produce just about 174,000 metric tons with deficit of 200,000 metric tons. She said that when you look at the artisanal fisheries sector, there are about 9,000 artisanal fishermen in Lagos. She said that the state was trying to bring in the youth into this space to increase the numbers of fishermen.
“This will increase the level of fish and seafood being harnessed from our water bodies. Looking at the transactional value on an annual basis, the fisheries sector is worth well over N120billion.”
She noted that there were no fewer than five zones with about 109 fish landing sites where artisanal fishermen from the State engage in their trade on a daily basis. We are engaging them more, which is why we have partnered with some financial institutions to register them and generate Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and account numbers for them” she added She advised that the fishermen should begin to key into the CBN funding schemes such as the anchor borrowers’ programme and the likes, she said. She noted that a lot needed to be done around the livestock sector as well, to draw in more private sector’s participants that can play on a commercial scale.