Nigerian Government in partn with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday unveiled a 10-year plan for sustainable development of the catfish industry in Nigeria.
Speaking at a two-day FISH4ACP workshop in Lagos on Tuesday, the Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mr Ime Umoh, noted that Nigeria is the largest producer of catfish in Africa.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Planning, FMARD, Mr Ibrahim Abubakar, the Director explained that Nigeria’s huge catfish sector could improve the economy and offer better jobs without additional burden on the environment.
He said, “Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of African catfish of which millions of people depend on. Our goal is to improve domestic catfish production, not only in quantity but also in quality, while providing better jobs for our people and ensuring no harm is done to the environment .
“By 2032, the plan foresees a 20 per cent increase of catfish production that would lead to 30 per cent more benefit, in particular, for small-scale aquaculture producers.
“At the same time, there would be a 10 per cent growth in employment and the health of workers would improve due to measures that will reduce air pollution. Additionally, it will halt deforestation, protect waters and wildlife,” Umoh added.
Also, International Partnerships Officer of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Nigeria, Mrs Urszula Sołkiewicz, stated that Europe was in support of the plan for a more sustainable catfish sector in Nigeria.
She said “This is an ambitious plan that will offer prosperity to small-scale producers and better jobs to fish workers.
“FISH4ACP’s is a flag bearer of the EU’s development support for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. It will make a difference in Nigeria’s catfish sector.
“Nigeria is one of the 12 countries where FISH4ACP, an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and implemented by Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) is being executed.”
FAO’s Representative in Nigeria and to the ECOWAS, Dr Fred Kafeero, informed that experts, stakeholders and participants would discuss strategies to enhance the catfish sector, adding that the workshop would set the agenda for FISH4ACP in the years to come and beyond its completion in 2025.
His words: “FAO is happy to support Nigeria’s ambition to increase and improve its domestic catfish production.
“FISH4ACP’s innovative value chain approach is a fine example of how FAO’s core objectives of Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment, and a Better Life can become a reality in Nigeria,” Kafeero added.