The National Fish Association of Nigeria, NFAN, says Nigeria is losing billions of Naira to untapped potential in fish production.
It thus called on the Nigerian Government to intensify efforts in curtailing importation and encouraging local production of the commodity to enable the country maximise its benefit.
The call was made in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day workshop of the South- East Zone of the association on Friday in Abuja.
The communiqué, which was signed by the National Publicity Secretary of NFAN, Mr Chidike Ukoh, indicated that it was expedient for the country to look inwards and tap into the huge potential in fish production.
It noted that the theme of the workshop, “Fish production, processing and certification for export” was chosen to bring relevant stakeholders from within and outside the country to brainstorm and develop strategies to maximise fish production.
The communiqué read in part, “Nigeria is blessed with rivers and other body of water with various species of fish as well new technology in fish farming techniques.
“This will not only generate income for government but guarantee healthy fish consumption and increased job opportunities.’’
It decried that Nigeria was losing so much to importation of the commodity, which it had the capacity to produce and equally export to other countries.
It recommended lending incentives, capacity building among others as areas to look into in repositioning the subsector.
It added, “The role of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL, is key in facilitating agriculture lending incentives through commercial banks at single-digit interest rate and with risk reduction guarantees.
“Fish farmers’ cooperatives’ structures also ought to acquire new skills and techniques to access funding, inputs and off taker and market arrangements under the Anchor Borrower Programme.
“There is equally the need to grow the country’s Gross Domestic Product from the fisheries and aquaculture subsector through empowerment of related businesses for increased and sustainable production.”
The meeting was attended by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, government functionaries, international community and over 5,000 participants including fish farmers drawn from Abia, Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu and other parts of the country.