The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to boost fish production in the state, describing the venture as the ‘new oil’ of Nigeria’s agricultural subsector.
The Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Richard Edebiri, gave the assurance during the Edo State Fisheries Stakeholders’ meeting held in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Obaseki said his administration through the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Accelerated Credit Scheme (CACS) Fund is transforming Edo State into a fish farming hub.
He noted that fish farmers in the state have been benefiting from several of such interventions, with the first batch of beneficiaries for the CBN’s input support funding to be drawn from Uteh Fish Farmers.
He urged participants to take advantage of the opportunities from the ease of doing business reforms in the state, adding that investors from across the world have been trooping into Edo State to benefit from his administration’s transformational agricultural policies.
The governor said, “It is pertinent to note that Benin City has become a major fish marketing centre in the country. Buyers now troop in the state from all the neighbouring states and other parts of the world. This only became possible because of the participation of investors like you”.
Obaseki revealed that the purpose of the stakeholders’ meeting was to bring together all key players in the industry to a roundtable with a view to addressing the challenges bedeviling the sector and identify the role and responsibilities of government to move it forward.
According to him, “Among the various strategies by the state government to ensure it takes the lead in fish production and develop the value chain are the input support to fish farmers, as well as motions set in place to regulate the industry, protect investors and ensure hygienic fish production and distribution processes.”
Director, Ministry of Fisheries, Mr. Friday Ehimare, said the state government has decided to key into the fish farming programme because it is the highest growing business in the agricultural subsector in Nigeria.
Earlier, the CBN representative, Mr. Agada Omonu, noted that the Federal Government through the apex bank intends to cause a turnaround of the non-oil sector and protect the economy of the country through its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) under its development finance strategy.
He assured that the government will continue to support operators in the agriculture sector, in order to create job opportunities and preserve foreign exchange revenue.