…calls for intervention, self-sufficiency
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Fish farmers under the auspices of Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Nigeria, FCFN, on Wednesday, hailed the Federal Government over the move to ban fish importation.
Expressing optimism over the statement made by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, the National President of FCFN, Anthony Asgaye, while speaking with Vanguard online at the 2019 World Food Day celebration, held on Wednesday, along Km 28, Abuja -Keffi Expressway, Tundun Wada, Nasarawa State, said it was a welcomed development and positive step to boost the nation’s food security.
Asgaye said it is important for the government to take the decision to stop the importation of fish, which has negatively impacted the industry and economy over the years.
The theme of World Food Day 2019 is ‘Our Actions Are Our Future. Healthy Diets for A #ZeroHunger World’. It focuses on tackling global hunger. Due to globalisation, urbanisation and income growth, our diets and eating habits are changed. Instead of seasonal, fibre rich food and plant-based food we are shifted to refined, starches, sugar, fats, salt, processed food, meat, and others.
He said: “The move by the Federal Government as disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, to ban fish importation is a highly welcomed development.
“We the fish farmers in Nigeria under the auspices of Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Nigeria, FCFN, have the potential and everything to produce fish to meet the national fish demand. We support the move by the Minister 100 per cent, and we will do our best to do our best for Nigeria to be self-sufficient in fish production.”
However, the fish boss called on the government to provide to meet local demand and for export as well.
“We appeal to the government to provide an enabling environment for his members to deeply go into fishing activities and processing but we need enabling the environment.
“Our major problems include the cost of fish feed. We want a holistic approach to how we can access fish feed so as to return our farmers to go back to their profession.
On the side of deep-sea fishermen coming to fishing equipment it is very expensive to afford.
“The government is subsidizing other areas of agriculture it should also consider and include the fisheries subsector for timely interventions such as the Anchor Borrowers Scheme for rice farmers in the country, which is been done by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN should be extended to the fisheries industry as well.
“We assure the government that it will see how the production of fish will dramatically and tremendously increase within a short period and that will also attract massive participation of local and foreign investors to the industry, which will metamorphose the country into a net exporter of fisheries products and become a regional hub of fisheries. I have mentioned this to them already and they are convinced”, he added.
He also raised concern over the dangerous practices of some people who are using harmful chemicals to carry out fishing on the Nigerian waters and asked them to desist from that.
“Soon the floodwaters will recede you will see a high rate of obnoxious fishing activities by people who use harmful chemicals polluting the water and destroying under-size fishes with meshes, gut if we have the enabling environment these activities will be curbed and reduced to the lowest minimum”, he said.