The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that the ministry would fast track its Policies and Programme in fisheries and aquaculture sub sector towards stopping fish importation in Nigeria by 2022.
The minister made this known while receiving a delegation from the National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN) led by its National President, Dr Gabriel Ogunsanya in his office, Abuja on Tuesday.
Nanono pointed out that time had come for Nigeria to look inward to tap into the huge potential in fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector for local consumption and export.
He stressed that there is a need for relevant stakeholders to join hands and promote fish production and reduce the importation of fish in our nation. According to him, “last year, we issued about one million licenses. This year, I virtually cut it into half, I hope next year we will further cut it so that in the next two years we may rely entirely on what we produce here’’.
The Minister further said that ‘’since you are producers and probably processors it is important to take note of your development in the fish sector towards this. In the next years, probably we will not allow the importation of fish into the country.
Nanono observed that “I know people are saying we can only rear catfish, tilapia and a few other species but most of the white fish they do not do well here, but I know for a fact that the consumption of catfish is very high in this country both the fresh one as well as the smoked one’’.
The Minister informed that “in fact, I was made to understand that it now has an export market. So, if you put your head together and work hard, the future is very bright for fish producers in this country.”
He assured the association of the government’s readiness to assist where is necessary to move the industry forward.
Earlier in his address, the President of NFAN, Dr Gabriel Ogunsanya, appealed to the minister to assist the association in reactivating dormant fishery terminals, fish markets, hatcheries and develop broodstock bank for identified fish species and privatize it for utilization of NFAN members.”
On the other hand, the National President, National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) led by its National President, Dr Gloria Shoda, also paid a courtesy visit to the Minister.
While receiving the delegation, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono urged that there is a need for women to key into Mechanization of the Agricultural sector towards achieving food security and job creation in Nigeria. The Minister assured the Organisation of the Federal Government’ support and collaboration with women smallholders’ farmers in Nigeria. According to him, ‘’ first priority is to feed ourselves, produce more, create a strong value chain and jobs for young girls, women and men’’.
In her remarks, the National President of NCWS, Dr Gloria Shoda informed that ‘’the council has a plan of Action for Nigerian women namely; Skills and Entrepreneurial studies, Rural and semi-urban farming support, Support for the development and growth of agricultural value – chain for women to the point of export as tools further empower Nigerian women and improve the rural market system’’.