In Lagos, six hundred and eighty (680) youths from thirty-four (34) fishermen cooperative associations in the State have been given fibre glass boats by the State Government
The distribution of the boats is part of the Artisanal Fisheries component of the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme.
Before handing over the fibre glass boats to the beneficiaries during a ceremony at the Agricultural Development Authority Complex, Oko-Oba, Agege, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya explained that the measure was part of Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu’s administration to boost youth employment and food security.
The Commissioner who stated that series of engagements were held with the fisher folks associations to ensure that youths engaged in fishing activities are the sole beneficiaries, said a framework to inculcate a culture of saving in the young fishermen had been put in place in partnership with a commercial bank and an insurance company to ensure sustainability.
She said this would aid the beneficiaries to become full fledged fishermen-bussinessmen and help Lagos to achieve the aim of the empowerment.
“The idea is even if you don’t catch fish today, because you have also expanded your fleet, you should still be able to have some savings to act as a shock absorber for you to be able to fend for your family and continue your business on other days. It is envisaged that the deployment of today’s fishing assets will create over 2,000 jobs in both up and down streams of the Artisanal Fisheries Value Chain and produce 4,531 tonnes fish annually,
it is our collective aspiration that through this programme and other projects in the agricultural space, the well-being of our farmers and fishermen will be enhanced and Lagos will eventually become food secure” the Commissioner stated.
She urged the beneficiaries not to treat the fishing assets as gifts, but as investment tools for them to prosper.
In a remark, the partnering bank’s head of agriculture, Mrs Moji Oguntoyinbo urged the beneficiaries to be consistent with their savings.
She said “We are very delighted to be a part er on this laudable project, this is an intentional investment and also 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 in Lagos State”
While the President of the Fishermen Association of Lagos State, Alhaji Adekunle Fasasi appealed to the benefitting youths to make judicious use of the boats so that more youths would also be accorded the same gesture, one of the young beneficiaries, Mr Jude Zebulon, who responded on behalf of others, thanked the Lagos State Government for the gesture and also challenged other young fisher folks to take advantage of the opportunities been offered by the government.
“Some of us are not taking the business seriously, but with this opportunity, I know everyone will go back to the business in full time bacuse the equipment they gave us is very very expensive, so, I know we will do the job very effectively” Jude Zebulon promised
The Lagos State Government had kick-started the empowerment of youths in the Agric space in July this year with
the distribution of inputs and productive assets to over 3,000 farmers, fishermen and marketers drawn from various Agricultural Value Chains across the State.