Bayelsa government is investing N1.17bn on Aquaculture farms; fish processing and storage facilities, while its foreign partners will source for N2.73bn. The project is expected to gulp N3.9bn.
Disclosing this at an interactive session with newsmen, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Thomas Commander said the government has signed a pact with two foreign technical partners to establish Aquaculture Farms, Fish Processing and storage facilities in the state to boost food production for local consumption and export.
Dr. Commander said the present administration is taking a giant leap to diversify the economy from oil and gas by taking advantage of its climate that is ideal for massive rice, cassava, banana, fisheries and aqua- culture production.
According to him, “P and R International, which is one of the partners, is going to establish a fish farm with a capacity of about 1500 metric tones of Cat fish with 500 metric tons of Tilapia making a total of 2000 metric tons of fish per annum.
“In view of the volume of fish that would be produced, they have been asked to also establish a fish processing factory with a capacity of 2500 Metric Tonnes and a Cold Storage Facility
These three components amount to 24 million US dollars with a naira equivalent of about N3.9bn. That is the cost, but this amount is to be shared across three important components- fish farm, fish processing factory and the cold storage facility which, has never happened in Nigeria. So it is cost effective and we are sure that we have done the best thing.
“In this amount, 30% is what the state is going to pay while the partners are going to source for 70% of this fund. However, there is an agreement that whatever they bring in will be paid back over 24 months.
He stated further that in line with the present administration’s target of achieving self-sufficiency in food production, the state would boast of its indigenous rice as government would commence harvest of the produce in the next three months.
According to him, government is making frantic efforts in revamping the Peremabiri, Isampou and Kolo farms for commercial rice production, noting that 1000 hectares of land have already been cultivated in Otuasega, Fando and Burma under what he called, “the Outgrowers Scheme.”
Dr. Commander maintained that government is working with foreign technical partners on Commercial Cassava Starch Processing Factory at Ebedebiri in Sagbama local government area; while efforts are on to rehabilitate the Bayelsa Palms in partnership with Malaysian experts.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State