By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Federal Government, Thursday, revealed that over 10 million Nigerians are actively engaged in fishing activities in the fish subsector.
This was made known by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, while closing the Internal Coordination Meeting of Implementation of Fisheries Governance Project Phase 2 ( FisheriesGov 2), which was held on June 13-17,2022 in Abuja.
Abubakar said government will support them and it is to boost local production in order to reduce imports, as government is currently encouraging backward integration through commercial aquaculture production.
He said: “The Fisheries and Aquaculture subsector is very significant to the Nigerian economy in terms of employment creation, income generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings and provision of raw materials for the animal feed industry.
“It is estimated that over 10 milliion Nigerians are actively engaged in primary and secondary fisheries operations, thus creating wealth for our people and we will be happy if they can benefit from this project.
“Nigeria’s total demand for Fish is 3.6 million tonnes annually while we are producing 1.1 million metric tonnes from all sources (Artisanal, Aquaculture, and Industrial sectors) leaving a deficit of about 2.5 million metric tonnes that my ministry is working hard in collaboration with the private sector to supplement by way of import reduction through backward integration.
“To boost local production in order to reduce imports, Government is encouraging backward integration through commercial aquaculture production (pond and cage culture) for local consumption and export and this is yielding positive results.”
However, according to the Minister, the Buhari-led administration has put in place measures to boost Nigerian fisheries subsector.
“It is gratifying to bring to your notice measures the Federal Government has introduced to enabled the Fisheries subsector gain the desired prominence.
“These measures include: Establishment of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) in Lagos and Abuja to monitor and control Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing along Nigeria Continental Shelf; Fish Storage, Processing and Marketing Project to increase shelf life/ keeping quality and curtail post harvest losses of Fish and Fishery Products; Fish Farm Clusters to increase Fish production and engage the teeming youths and women and Lake Enhancement Project to increase fish production and make for sustainable livelihood for the fisher folks.
“All these programmes are tailored towards job and wealth creation, poverty reduction, arrest and prevention of youth restiveness and food nutrition security”, he said.
He also assured that recommendations from the workshop will be used to improve Nigeria’s governance mechanism for maximum productivity in her fisheries subsector.
However, the Minister tasked stakeholders at the meeting on subjecting every item on the agenda to scrutiny and come up with sustainable and practicable governance strategies for implementation in order to boost fish production in Africa.