By Ikeoye Oyetoro
The Nigerian Association of ChambersÂ of Commerce and Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has faulted the importation of 740,000 metric tonnes of fish valued at US$594.4 million (N82.8 billion) annually into the country.
Speaking Tuesday, during a one day sensitisation workshop on fish farming, shrimp culture and enlightenment on loan facilities held at itâ€™s corporate head office in Lagos, the National President of NACCIMA, Dr Simon C. Okolo , said that the Association is not comfortable with the data on fish being imported into the country annually which stood at 740,000 metric tonnes per annum.
â€œData on domestic fish supply in the country shows that average domestic supply of fish hovers around 620,000 tonnes, which is augmented by fish importation of about 740,000 metric tonnes, amounting to a total ofÂ 1.3 million tonnes.
Similarly, farmed shrimp products accounts for over 30 per centÂ of total world shrimp output stating that cultured shrimps are more valued in the world seafood market,â€.
Represented by the 1st Deputy National President of the Association, Dr Herbert Ademola Ajayi, OkoloÂ further noted that in order to reduce the widening gap between local demand and supply, and achieve the ultimate goal of self sufficiency in fish production, government should come up with a legislation on food security .
Dr Okolo also attributed the low production ofÂ fish and shrimp in the country to the reason why Nigeria is the largest importer of the products in the world despite its enormous water and sea resources .
AlsoÂ at the eventÂ was LagosÂ Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Chief Enoch Kolapomoye Ajiboso who was represented by Director of Department of fishery, Lagos state, Mrs Ayotunde Awokuleyin. According to her, there has been a decline in the effort of artisanal fishermen to increase fish production.Â She however outlined some of the programmes put in place by the state government to increase fishÂ production.