Lagos State, Ecobank Nigeria Collaborate In Fisheries Job Creation Scheme

Several cooperative societies comprising 680 youth fishermen have been presented with 34 fibreglass boats with outboard engines and other ancillary fishing equipment as part of a partnership between Ecobank Nigeria and the Lagos State government to boost the fisheries value chain in the state.

At the presentation ceremony in Lagos, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, commended Ecobank Nigeria for its drive to ensure the success of the partnership, saying that the collaboration has been exceptional in helping to develop business models suitable for the fishermen.

The Commissioner stated that the ministry was engaged in the partnership with Ecobank and Old Mutual Assurance, to provide banking services, track cash flow in the business and aid fleet expansion for the fishermen.

She explained that the empowerment scheme was under the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme, inaugurated by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu last July as part of the government’s commitment to supporting the fishery value chain.

The deployment of the fishing assets is expected to create over 2,000 jobs in the upstream and downstream sub-sectors of the artisanal fisheries value chain, as well as help to produce 4,531 metric tonnes of fish annually. Under the programme, each cooperative group comprising 20 members will receive one boat.

Ms Olusanya stated that the partnership with Ecobank was aimed at monitoring the activities of each cooperative group to ensure that they make judicious use of the equipment.

“Today”, she said, “We are distributing the fibre glass boats to 34 cooperative groups free of charge, under the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme. We need to monitor your activities to ensure that you utilise the equipment very well and also expand and increase the number of your fleet with the support of the financial institution. The banks are here to plan your business and increase opportunities for the generations to come. We want you all to grow your business and become multinational companies. We don’t want people to come from Japan, Netherlands and other foreign countries to talk about fish more than our people from the local fishing communities”.

Left to right: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Lagos State, Hakeem Adeniji; Commissioner for Agriculture, Lagos State, Ms Abisola Olusanya; President, Lagos State Fishermen Cooperative Society, Mr. Adekunle Fasasi; Head, Public Sector and Agric Business, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Mojisola Oguntoyinbo and Area Manager, Lagos Mainland, Margaret Fawibe, at the presentation of fibreglass boats and other fishing equipment to fish farmers in Lagos.

The Head of Agriculture Desk at Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs. Moji Oguntoyinbo, stated that the bank was delighted to partner with the State government on the fisheries value chain project, because of Lagos’ location as a coastal region which has a lot of opportunities in fisheries.

She declared: “We have seen Lagos state as a coastal region with a lot of opportunities in fisheries and we are delighted that the government has picked us as a focus in food sustainability to start development in this sector. Today, we are very delighted to be a partner on this laudable project. This is an intentional investment and incentive to fishermen in Lagos, to promote this sector to the extent of making it possible for fish production and exportation, in the very near future, from the state”.

Continuing, she explained: “This is very laudable for us and we are delighted that this will be a role model plan and action that we will also try to replicate in other coastal regions of Nigeria. Lagos is always taking the lead and we are delighted to partner with you on this project”.

Mrs. Oguntoyinbo urged the beneficiaries to be consistently focused and ensure that the project would continue to revolve to ensure that it would be extended to more beneficiaries in the future.

In his own remarks, the President, Lagos State Fishermen Cooperative Society, Mr. Adekunle Fasasi, commended the government for its continuous support and empowerment to the value chain. He noted that in the whole of Nigeria, Lagos State was number one fish production and promised to work towards increasing its output with the new empowerment scheme.

He stated that, “Lagos is a coastal region; we have oceans and seas and it is important that we take advantage of this for economic benefits. I am particularly happy that this initiative is focused on the youths, because these are the people that will take over from us aged fishermen”.

Mr. Fasasi advised the farmers to use the equipment presented to them as if they paid for it and prayed that God would continue to give them wisdom and strength needed to be better fishermen.

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Pinterest

 

 

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