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Government Must Encourage Fish Farming


NIGERIA - Tayo Alabi, a botanist in Lagos, has urged the federal government to create an enabling environment that will encourage greater participation in fish farming.

Mrs Alabi, a researcher with the Nigerian Institute of Oceanographic and Marine Research (NIOMR), said that the inability of Nigeria to produce enough fish for consumption had led to massive fish importation. She told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Nigeria spends about N50 billion on fish importation annually to meet its yearly fish demand of 1.5 million tonnes. According to Mrs Alabi, Nigeria can only boast of producing 500,000 tonnes of fish which is only one-third of the fish needed in the country annually.

"The demand for fish in Nigeria annually is about 1.5 million tonnes and the country can only boast of producing one-third of that," she said.

Mrs Alabi added that as a result, catfish and stockfish were currently being imported from India and Iceland respectively. The botanist noted that chemicals used to preserve imported frozen fish had harmful effects on humans.

She said that importing fish from other countries when they could be reared in Nigeria had adverse effects on the country's foreign reserve.

"The importation of frozen fish into the country is harmful to the economy of the country," she said.

Mrs Alabi said that there was need to increase investment in aquaculture in the country if importation of frozen fish must be reduced. According to her, this can be done by sensitising the public on the need to invest in the fish production business through public lectures, training and workshops. She urged the federal government to encourage fish farmers through micro-credits and other incentives.