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Ogun govt. partners private aquaculture firm to enhance food security

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The Ogun government says arrangements have been concluded to partner with a fishery firm, Premium Aquaculture Ltd. to promote fish  value chain and enhance food security in the state.

Dr Adeola Odedina, the Commissioner for Agriculture, said the partnership with the firm, being one of the largest Tilapia fish farms in the country, would also help to generate employment for youths, apart from boosting food security.

Odedina disclosed this when he led a team from the ministry to the aquaculture farm at Oyan Dam under Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority on Wednesday.

He said that the partnership was necessitated by the Ogun State COVID-19 response plan to support food production and processing locations across the state.

The commissioner said that the aquaculture firms had the potential for food value chain opportunity that would train young people.

He said that government would provide necessary support for the identified firms to boost its food security agenda and meet the envisaged food crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the envisaged food crisis, what we are doing in Ogun state is that we have an approved Agricultural COVID-19 Response Plan and prime among them is to visit to all food production and processing locations.

“So that the state will continue to provide support and our revised agenda on COVID-19 will run smoothly, food security will go on as well as our agenda for the youths,” Odedina said.

He, however expressed the government’s readiness to support small holder farmers to sustain their market, adding that they would be taught on best aquaculture practices.

He said that the support would help to achieve the food security agenda and continue to maintain the state government’s food security programme irrespective of the current global challenge.

Odedina said that since the beginning of lockdown, government had been visiting some food processing companies to see areas of partnership toward ensuring adequate food sufficiency.

He said that the Aquaculture Firm with a production capacity of 10 million tilapia fish would serve both the local and international markets as well as provide jobs for the youths.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been visiting food processing companies for possible areas of partnership.

“We are contributing our quota to food security and how much employment we can generate as they partner with us in training our young people,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Dotun Sorunke, said that the visit was to assess water assets that abound in the state and proffer ways of harnessing them and come out with innovative technology that would  benefit youth farmers in the state.

“We are going round to assess water and resources in Ogun state, so we can harness them. The companies here are using innovations and technology in aquaculture and we want our youths to key into it,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the firm, Mr Govinda Raju Siddagangaiah, disclosed that the farm has 200 metric tonnes production capacity, adding that it also produces frozen tilapia fish.

He, however, commended the team for the visit, promising to do more to meet envisaged food challenge in the postCOVID-19 era.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Grace Yussuf (NAN)