Nigeria spends about $800 million annually importing about 900,000 tonnes of fish, says Lagos state Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr. Enock Ajiboso.
Ajiboso told a seminar, organized by Norgem Nigeria Ltd in conjunction with Novus International USA on Friday in Lagos that whereas Nigerians required about 2.1 million tonnes of fish, it could only produce a total of 650,000 tonnes annually.
He noted that the state government had put in place various programs to address the shortfall.
“However, we believe that this task should not be left alone to the government, hence the call for collaboration between the government and the private sector to engender sustainable aquaculture growth in Nigeria ,” he said.
Ajiboso said that the various programs put up by the state government included the fish farm estate initiative ; marine agriculture development program, trainings and capacity building.
He stressed the need to develop indigenous fish feeds as the bulk of the fish feeds in use in Nigeria were from Europe .
Ajiboso said that this would save the foreign exchange that could be used for other meaningful purposes and also lower fish production cost.
He said that the state government had addressed the problem of marketing by establishing a fish processing center for smoked fish and the Eko catfish depot, which were serving as selling points for fish farmers in the state.
“It is anticipated that these and other marketing channels to be put in place by the government, will create adequate contact points between the producers and the end consumers.
“Besides, this is to ensure that the market is expanded and farmers can increase production of fish and fishery products,” he said.
Dr. Amaka Nwoga of Norgem Nigeria Ltd noted that the seminar was organized to increase the focus on Nigeria ’s rich natural resources and to boost export for aquaculture development.