By FRANKLIN ALLI
Nigeria has the potentials to produce four million metric tons of fish per annum, and the sector can also generate five million jobs in two years, says Godwin Emakenemi , Managing Director, Dickem Farm.
Dickem Farm is one of the key investors in the nation’s aquatic industry and the largest fish farmer in Lagos State
“N100 billion is spent in importing frozen fish into Nigeria, annually. That is the one that was legally documented. That means Nigerians are consuming almost N9 billion worth of frozen fish every month. That being the case, why are we importing frozen fish? If you look at the country’s topography, you will realize that the country is naturally blessed with water resources and with the level of fish farmers across the country, we have ability to produce four million metric tons of fish locally,” said Emakenemi.
He noted that the country presently produces 780,000 metric tons of fish both the ones the aqua culture industry is producing and the ones being caught from the sea.
“For us to meet WHO minimum standard of 35 gram of fish protein everyday per person, we needed 2.66 million metric tons of fish to satisfy that requirement. That means if you remove the minimum requirement from what we produce locally, we have a short fall of almost 1.9 million metric tons which is being imported from Europe, South America and the Far East.
“But with what we have in the industry, if you remove what we produce locally (. 788) from four million, you would realise that we will meet the minimum WHO requirement which is 2.66 million metric tons. In fact, we will be having a surplus of 4.4 million metric tons that can serve the whole of Africa. Within the level we are in fish farming nationwide, I am convinced that employment of five million can be generated within 24 months only just using fish farming,” he said.
On what his company has being doing to develop the local industry, he disclosed that the products they have developed can bring down the cost of fish production in the country to 54 percent from the current 80 percent.
“80 percent of the cost of fish farming is the feed. Feed is the food fish eats, and one of the ways to rear fish is by using floating fish feed because you can’t over feed or under feed fish. When fish is satisfied they will be playing with the food. So, it is agreed that the best technology is using floating fish feed,” he said. According to him, the products they developed and introducing into the market are the company’s brand of extruder machine, locally made floating fish feed and mobile fish ponds.