From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Monday restated it’s commitment to a 10-year Programme to stop $35 billion annual food import into the continent.
The project titled, Technology for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), is meant to feed Africa and reduce high cost of food crop imports.
TAAT Program Coordinator, Dr. Chrysantus Akem, speaking at the Stakeholders Conference in Abuja stated that the food being exported is such that could be produced locally.
Dr. Chrysantus said the 10 year program which began from 2015-2025 is set to have more than 46 million beneficiaries all over Africa while reaching out the teeming unemployed youth, thus increasing productivity of the targeted food value chain.
However, he noted that AfDB, which identified important role of research and technology will support all food value chain with N120 million, a seed money to access N700 million provided by the World Bank through its African Agriculture Transformation Program.
According to him, fish feed which makes up 60% of production cost of fish has been major problem facing Aquaculture, especially on the Tilapia and Catfish.
He advised need for the aquaculture sector to link up with cassava, soybean and maize farmers which makes up components of fish feeds adding that worldfish already has technology to improve its use if it is embraced.
In his remarks, Ministry’s Director of Fisheries, Mallam Muazu Mohammed attributed the 2.4 million tonnes fish deficit to large importation but noted that the success of Fisheries and Aquaculture in any country depend on research, new technology and the production of good and quality fish feeds.
He urged participants to acquaint themselves with TAAT considering the fact that fishery sector contribute about 4.5% of the Gross Domestic Product.
He emphasised it employ an estimate of 10 million Nigerians in both the primary and secondary fisheries operation.
“It is anticipated that with coming of TAAT on board, technologies for culture and domestication of fish species would be harnessed leading to increase in domestic fish production.”
The National Project Coordinator, West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme, (WAAP) Dr. James Apochi said WAAP will be partnering with TAAT through the West Africa Agricultural Transformation Program in the area of upscaling and distribution of technology that has been demonstrated across the West Africa sub-region.