Fish farming is fast gaining ground and becoming a very popular vacation for Nigerians of all ages.
The fish sector is still comparatively underdeveloped in Nigeria as most fish farmers rely on imported inputs such as fish meal, fish feed, fish health supplies. Consequently the cost of production is high and the venture becomes unprofitable. Some fish farmers just manage to break even.
Some other problems bedevilling the fisheries sector include inadequate and expensive fingerlings of questionable quality, which makes farmers want to produce their own fingerlings
There is hardly any specialization in the aquaculture sector when compared with other subsectors like Poultry and vegetable production
In order to address the issues plaguing the fisheries sector, experts in the field of aquaculture from the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) gathered recently in Lagos under the World Bank assisted program, the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP).
The objective of WAAPP is to improve agricultural productivity in the sub-region as well as encourage integrated development of agricultural research into technological generation.
Addressing the gathering, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, said aquaculture plays a very significant role in the Nigerian agricultural economy as it offers employment to millions of people along its divergent value chain.
She added that it was on the basis of its role that the ministry created the fisheries and aquaculture value chains under the Agriculture Transformation Agenda.
“The main emphasis of these value chains is to create an enabling environment for increased and sustainable production of over one million tons of fish and gradual reduction of fish imports which lead to conserving foreign exchange.”
Odusote disclosed that the fisheries and aquaculture value chain is set to increase the annual production of fingerlings by 1.25million; 400,000 tons of fish feed and an additional 250,000 tons of table fish, and 10,000 tons of value added fish and fisheries products.