From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A top European investor, Mr. Georgious Goulas of the African Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries (AAGGF) has hinted that the European consortium is bringing massive investments into Bayelsa State.
According to him, the group is set to build a robust agro-and maritime economy that will generate over 4,000 job opportunities in the State.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Bayelsa State Government and the AAGGF for a massive aquaculture project that include setting up of 300-hectares offshore aquaculture farm, 20,000-metric tonnes capacity fish processing plant and a boat building yard across the three senatorial districts of Bayelsa State.
The team from Greece and their Nigerian representatives were in Bayelsa State for a three-day tour of potential project sites and visited different river and seaside at Swali, Ox-bow lake in Yenagoa, River Nun by Sampou, Agudama-Ekpetiama, Nembe, Twon Brass and Okpoama beach earmarked for the project.
The inspection of the various locations followed the recent visit by Governor Douye Diri to Greece to see and appreciate the various aquaculture and maritime projects to be replicated on Bayelsa soil and water.
Mr. Goulas, who led the team from Greece and spoke through an interpreter, said he was excited that the Bayelsa environment was most suited for the massive fisheries business and that such a project would have a value chain effect to trigger ambitious economic activities for the people.
“I believe that such a project will have a value chain effect. Definitely, it will bring development into the society, increase the value and give more economical activities to the indigenes, which in turn will raise their standard of living overtime. And it can only keep increasing, not decreasing because there is the issue of food insecurity worldwide, so food will always be required. We are glad to be part of this new opportunity and we are here for real investment”, he stated.
Also, the Head of the Lead Consultant to AAGGF, Prince Patrick Osobase, said the Greek delegation which included their technical team had been impressed by the potentialities of the state.
“We are the lead consultant for this project. Well, we have been very impressed. We have done multiple visits to Bayelsa State. We have now brought in the technical team to confirm information we earlier provided them. But more than aquaculture, we are going to be building vessels here in Bayelsa State. We are going to have a boat yard that will produce 100 vessels for this project. We are also going to have a processing plant, where we are going to process the fishes catch and add value. So it’s not just aquaculture, its boat building. There is processing, there’s distribution. It’s a complete industry”, Osobase stated.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. David Alagoa, after leading his guests to various sites told newsmen that Bayelsans and Nigerians were waiting for the take-off of this massive investment that will provide direct training to 2,500 young Bayelsans and create about 4,000 jobs.