By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The partnership between the federal government and Ogun State has helped to increase the local production of fishery to a record high 1.1 million metric tonnes, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has said.

The minister made the assertion at the inauguration of four projects built by his ministry in Eriwe, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

The Eriwe fishing farm estate consisted of a feed mill, cold room, fish market and the processing unit over an estimated 156 hectres of land area.

It is touted as the biggest fish farming estate in Africa with an average fish farming production turnover of about 2,500 metric tonnes annually and income generation of about N2 billion annually.

Lokpobiri, eulogised the partnership of Ogun State towards growing the fishery sub-sector in Nigeria.

According to him, the local production of fish was only about 600,000 metric tonnes, when the present administration came to power. But the figure has grown to about 1.1 million metric tonnes, representing almost 100 per cent increment, largely driven by output from the Eriwe community.

“There is still a lot to be done because our national demand is about 3.5 million metric tonnes per annum and we are producing only about 1.1 million metric tonnes, which means that we are only producing about one third of our national demand. However, we must applaud the partnership of Ogun State towards the growth of fisheries in Nigeria, Lokpobiri said.

At the ceremony, which had in attendance, members of the board of trustees of Ijebu Development Initiative on Poverty Reduction (IDIPR), board of directors, traditional rulers and members of the community, Lokpobiri lauded the people for their self-help and commitment to consciously work themselves out of poverty.

Besides its commitment to the Eriwe fish farm project, Lokpobiri said the federal government, was also intervening in some other areas in Ogun State, including the construction of rural roads to enable evacuation of farm produce, rehabilitation of some moribund farms in the state, establishment of cocoa and rubber plantations among others.

With the successes recorded in fishing, the people of Eriwe community have begun to diversify into other agricultural projects, like, poultry farming, piggery and presently, they have also acquired land outside the estate to do cocoa farming and rubber plantation.