Fish production engages 10m Nigerians – FG

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

 

Over 10 million Nigerians are currently engaged in primary and secondary fish production across the country, the Federal Government announced on Thursday.

While delivering a speech at the Internal Coordination Meeting among departments of the African Union Commission in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Mahmood, stated that despite this huge number of fish farmers, the country was still importing about 2.5 million tonnes of frozen fish annually.

He, however, pointed out that the fisheries and aquaculture subsector was very significant to the Nigerian economy in terms of employment creation, income generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings and provision of raw materials for the animal feed industry.

Mahmood said, “It is estimated that over 10 million Nigerians are actively engaged in primary and secondary fisheries operations, thus creating wealth for our people and we will be happy if they can benefit from this (fisheries and aquaculture) project.

“Nigeria’s total demand for fish is 3.6 million tonnes annually, while we are producing 1.1 million tonnes from all sources (artisanal, aquaculture and industrial sectors).

“This leaves a deficit of about 2.5 million tonnes that my ministry is working hard in collaboration with the private sector to supplement by way of import reduction through backward integration.”

The minister explained that to boost local production in order to reduce imports, the Federal Government was encouraging backward integration through commercial aquaculture production (pond and cage culture) for local consumption and export, “and this is yielding positive results.”

Mahmood outlined the measures adopted by the Federal Government to boost the fisheries subsector to include the establishment of a Vessel Monitoring System in Lagos and Abuja to monitor and control illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing along with Nigeria continental shelf.

“Others include fish storage, processing and marketing project to increase shelf life/keeping quality and curtail post-harvest losses of fish and fishery products; fish farm clusters to increase fish production and engage the teeming youths and women, and lake enhancement projects to increase fish production and make for sustainable livelihood for the fisher folks,” he said.

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