From: AgroNature Admin
For Nigeria and other African countries to meet local fish production need and consumption demands, it must double fisheries and aquaculture production by 2030, WorldFish has said.
Director of International Partnerships for the international Non-Governmental Organisation, David Shearer, disclosed this on Tuesday at stakeholder workshop on development of the WorldFish Nigeria Research Programme in Abuja.
He stated that increasing human population alongside improved awareness on benefits of fish consumption caused growing demands for fish and fish products.
Shearer, who acknowledged need for partnership to achieve increased local production of the produce in the country emphasized that the African continent still lags behind the world in fish consumption, consuming about 10 kg per person annually.
“Africa will need to double its fish production from both fisheries and aquaculture by 2030 to cater for present consumption levels. The scale of this challenge requires research innovations across the whole spectrum of aquaculture and fisheries production systems and associated value-chains,” he said.
However, he revealed partnership with the Federal Government to meet current fish production shortfall from national demand of 3.2 million Metric Tonnes (MT).
Nigeria currently produces 1.1 million MT of fish and fishery products with a deficit of 2.1 million MT.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Heineken Lokpobiri said the international organization will support the country to achieve its target on food and nutrition.
He said all fish importers have been directed to do backward integration through commercial aquaculture, adding that some of the compliant organisations have been certified by the ministry to commence fish and fishery products export to international markets.
The Minister, who acknowledged capacity of the country to produce fish to meet local fish demand, noted that the country still has huge gap on tilapia fish.
“Nigeria, as you all know is a large fish consuming nation and a net importer of fish and fishery products. Currently, our annual fish demand is in excess of 3.2 million MT while the production is about 1.1 million MT from all sources resulting in a demand-supply gap of about 2.1 million MT.”
“Nigeria was importing over 2 million metric tons of fish in 2015 with 500, 000 metric tons local capacity but currently produce 1.1 million metric tons,” he added.
According to the minister, the nation largely produces catfish, which he considered as expensive, that is 80 per cent cat fish and 20 per cent Tilapia. He stressed increased production of different varieties.
He appealed to the international organization to help the country increase its local production on tilapia as it did to Ghana and Egypt.
“The FMARD have the mandate to harness potentials in the agriculture sector. So we will give you every support to succeed.”
The ministry’s Deputy Director, Mr. Segun Babatunde called for the establishment of tilapia breeding centre to meet the deficit.
He said despite that the country is the second largest fish producer in Africa after Egypt, there is need for concerted effort to produce more of tilapia.
The DD explained that the country still remains largest producer of African catfish, accounting for 80 per cent of National Aquaculture Production in the country.
However, he decried the problem of its affordability and called for diversification of different species in the fish sub sector.
He further blamed challenges facing the sector on poor capacity and lack of access to quality feeds.