Nigeria has emerged the largest producer of catfish in Africa through the introduction of import reduction and backward integration policy.
This feat was announced in Abuja by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, during the Think Tank Meeting on Ornamental Fish Trade and Intra-Regional Fish Trade.
According to the Minister, the new policy of import reduction and backward integration introduced by the federal government helped to boost local fish production and reduce its import.
He said: “Before the present administration, Nigeria was spending about $900Million annually on the importation of fish which earned the country the unenviable position as Africa’s largest importer of fish but with the new policy of import reduction and backward integration, Nigeria became the largest producer of Catfish in Africa”.
The Minister lauded the recent formation of the African Network of Women Fish Processors and Traders as a platform for women who constitute the major players in fish post-harvest handling and marketing in Africa.
He further pledged that Nigeria would continue to assist in the programmes and activities of bodies like the Association of Ornamental Fish Farmers and Exporters of Nigeria (ADFFEN), Cat fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFAN) and other relevant bodies.
On his part, the African Union (EU) representative, Simplice Nouala, said Africa is endowed with rich fisheries resources and has immense potentials for contributing significantly to the socio economic growth, rural development and improving livelihoods of its citizens and the potentials can be achieved through fisheries and aquaculture sector which include ornamental.