The Federal Government has said it was working to reduce fish importation by 35 per cent over the next three years to make Nigeria self sufficient in fish production.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina disclosed this during a programme at an endorsement ceremony of Vital Fish Feed by the Catfish Farmers Association of Nigeria in Lagos.
“We are putting various initiatives in place to ensure that we make Nigeria self-sustaining in fish production, reduce importation of fish and fish feed as well as creating jobs, through aquaculture to the teeming unemployed youths in the country,” he said.
Represented at the event by the Regional Director, South West, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Quadri Olalekan, the minister said government is encouraging local production of fish through its Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), being implemented by his ministry.
Speaking at the event, the Group Managing Director of UAC of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Larry Ettah described as worrisome the extant capital flight being recorded in fish importation inspite of the potentials and resources.
According to Ettah, there was a need for concerted effort between the government and local players to fill the huge demand supply gap in the country currently estimated at 1.9 million metric tonnes of fish per annum.
He said: “It is worrisome that Nigeria currently spends N125 billion per annum on the importation of fish due to the huge demand supply gap currently estimated at 1.9 million metric tonnes pers annum.
“The situation, unbridled importation of fish and fish feed, is an indefensible and unsustainable, considering the fact that the country has all it takes to be not only self-sufficient in fish production but also its export as well.”
He, however, called for an urgent need for both the private sector and the Federal Government to work work together to increase investment in the fishery and aquaculture value chain.
“The investment in aquaculture, if well-harnessed, has the potential to significantly reduce the current fish supply deficit.
However, this potential cannot and will not- be released without a strong and vibrant local fish feed industry,” he said.