The Aquaculture industry in the nation is staggering on the brink of collapse, with industry players pleading for immediate action from state and federal governments.
They emphasize the sector’s importance, highlighting its scale surpassing oil and gas, providing over 15 million jobs for Nigerians.
Data from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture reveals a massive gap between Nigeria’s annual fish demand (3.5 million metric tons) and its production (1.1 million metric tons), resulting in expensive fish imports.
Stakeholders assert that supporting local farmers can eliminate the need for costly fish imports.
Dr. Momoh Yusuf Mustapha, National President of the Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN), expresses concern over challenges such as market pricing, soaring input costs, and climate-induced losses.
Mustapha advocates for government assistance including reduced tariffs, support for post-harvest technologies, and creation of a Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministry.
Mustapha also highlights the recurring issue of flooding that devastates farmers’ yields and urges canal maintenance. He cites instances of floods wiping out millions of fishes, leaving farmers in dire financial straits.
Local farmers implore government officials, like Prince Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, to provide aid against flooding, including stream dredging and improved water flow management.
Industry leaders like Olatubosun Oladipo and Sejiro Micheal Oke-Tojinu emphasize the need for government dialogue, support, and subsidies for fish feed.
Oke-Tojinu underscores the potential of the aquaculture sector to outshine oil, urging collaboration among stakeholders to prevent a looming collapse and safeguard millions of jobs.