NIGERIA – The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) said that the Federal Government imports 1.96 million tons of fish valued at $500 million annually to augument the shortfall of fish in the country.
President, Mr Ken Ukuoha, spoke at a stakeholders’workshop on the Aquaculture sub-sector of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) and Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) in Abuja and said the massive importation of frozen fish ranked the country as the largest fish importer in Africa, reports TheNation.
He lamented that this is causing serious depletion of the nation’s resources while about six million employment from the sector is lost.
He said: “Nigeria has all it takes in terms of water, human capital and other resources not only to bridge importation but also to become a fish exporting nation while also filling the regional fish market gap and opportunities.
“At the regional level, one of the key components of the (Economic Community of West African States) ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) is the improvement of the aquaculture sector as a means of job creation and food security.At present ECOWAS is collaborating with the World Bank on a West African Aquaculture Production Programme WAAPP where 13 countries are participating.
“This presents another opportunity for Nigeria to excel and improve impacts on tge sector using the GES. NANTS isvworking with the ECOWAS Commission in a five years project. (2013-2017) targeted at the implementation of the ECOWAP.
“We are also implementing the USAID Market project on aquaculture targeted at the agronomic training and management of 1000 fish farmers in the FCT and Niger State.
“This collaboration will pull the various projects together using the GES as a toner to fertilisers increased agricultural productivity in Nigeria’s fish sector.
“The sensitisation is to expose and create investment opportunities for small scale farmers,especially youths to consider fish farming as alternative business option with GES as a motivation.