The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, has inaugurated the National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN) to boost production and achieve self-sufficiency.
The inauguration is part of the effort of government to strengthen commodity associations to bridge the wide gap between import and domestic production.
Inaugurating the association on Tuesday in his office in Abuja, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr Edet Sunday Akpan, said the NFAN was better placed to take opportunities in the production of fish and create wealth for the nation and its members.
Mr Akpan said the ministry would provide technical support to the association in order to strengthen it with access to finance and the international market for its products along the value chain.
The chairman of the NFAN, Dr Gabriel Emiola Ogunsanya, said the association had concluded arrangement to commence the National Youth Empowerment Programme (NYEP), a private sector intervention on fish industrial estate under “Ingrower System of Operation” for enhanced productivity and quality assurance.
Dr Gabriel said, “As you are aware, Nigeria is the second largest producer of fish in Africa, second to Egypt. While Egypt is the largest producer of tilapia, Nigeria is the largest producer of the African catfish. The catfish hybrid accounts for about 80 per cent of the national aquaculture production. But despite this, a major challenge facing the aquaculture industry in Nigeria is lack of capital and importation.”
The chairman of FEG Agro Farms Nigeria Limited, Otunba Emiola Ogunsanya, is also worried that fish farmers and value chain promoters’ glamour for funds have not been successful because farmers are unable to form a single association to speak with one voice.
A former governor of Borno State, Alhaji Maina Maaji Lawan, who has an investment in fish production, with farms in Kuje and serving on the Board of Trustees of the NFAN, said he would help the farmers with his wealth of experience in fish farming.
Alhaji Maina said the current border closure would allow the country to do what was right by finding a long-term solution to over-dependence on import of virtually everything the country could produce.