FG, stakeholders partner to curb fish importation
The Federal Government and other stakeholders have expressed concern over 2.5 million metric tonnes of fish imported into the country yearly.
They said despite abundant aquatic resources in the country, Nigeria produces less than one million metric tonnes of fish from both aquatic and artisanal sources as against the 3.6 million tonnes yearly demand.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, while speaking during the National Dialogue on Transformation and Future of Aquatic Food Systems in Nigeria, said there was a renewed drive by the Federal Government to increase domestic fish production to reduce importation of frozen fish.
The Minister said the government was willing to engage and partner with stakeholders for the development of the sector for economic development, wealth and job creation as well as food and nutrition security.
Nanono, who was represented by the Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Dr. Ime Umoh, said the sector was still confronted with numerous challenges, including high cost of inputs, use of unimproved breeds in aquaculture, lack of access to finance, among others.
He said: “The aim of the dialogue is to deepen our understanding of these challenges, while also proffering noteworthy recommendations that would leverage aquatic food systems capacity to contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.
“The Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, said President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to grow Nigeria’s agricultural sector to achieve a hunger-free nation.
Umakhihe, who was represented by the Deputy Director and Head of Aquaculture Division, Mr. Istifanus Pwaspo, also highlightedthe Ministry’s efforts to include issuance of letters of assurance to investors to go into deep sea fisheries exploitation for Tuna and Tuna –like fishes and other pelagic fish species for local consumption and export.
Also speaking, the National President of Fish Association of Nigeria / Regional Vice President for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Economic Communities Of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. Adegoke Agbabiaka, advised the Federal Government to liaise with the private sector across the states to facilitate and coordinate its programmes for effective results.
He said that the bane of the sector still remained lack of adequate budgetary provision for the subsector and inadequate extension workers in states.
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