By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Members of the National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to assist the association in tackling some of the challenges and what it called ‘national disasters’ that have affected the operations of the association.
NFAN, an umbrella body for all fisheries and aquaculture industry value chain in Nigeria spoke in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday through its National Secretary, Chief Chidike Ukoh, during the 13th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment, held in Ekiti State.
Presenting a paper entitled: “THE IMPROVED FUNDING AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY VALUE IN NIGERIA”, Ukoh urged the Federal Government to assist the association to mitigate the loss it suffered as a result of COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown.
He equally urged the government to focus more attention on the provisions of adequate security for fisheries and aquaculture industry operators located along Nigeria’s coastal lines and lake chad basin.
Establishment of of integrated fish processing centers at least one in each of the six geo-political zones as pilot to mitigate post harvest losses.
Other assistant mentioned by the NFAN secretary are, subsidize local feed production and fabrication of simple tools, creation of a special funding scheme for micro, small and medium enterprises in the fish value chain as grant or loans with farmers friendly low interest rate.
Creation of opportunities to access both West African and the Continental Markets that would guarantee great economic potentials in the fisheries industry sub-sector among others.
Describing Nigeria as the largest producer of catfish in Africa, argued that fish feed production in fisheries as essential in aquaculture business can ever be over emphasis.
He submitted that about 60-70 percent cost of fish production is expended on feeds alone.
Speaking on the theme: “MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA” as not only apt, but also committed to ensuring that the policy direction of Government is achieved, sustained and expanded for inclusive benefits of all stakeholders.
He lauded the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment and other stakeholders in the ministry for putting into consideration and approval of the sub-sector interest of the association in the Federal Executive Council.