The Federal Government in collaboration with the WorldFish, an international organisation, will together boost tilapia and catfish production through research in the country.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, revealed in Abuja, Tuesday that the collaboration would advance the diversification of local fishes in the country.
The minister at the Stakeholders’ Workshop on the World Fish Nigeria Research Programme, noted that the partnership would also accelerate breeding of Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) and catfish.
While speaking, he disclosed that the annual fish demand in the country was currently at 3.2 million tonnes and annual production from aquaculture, artisanal and industrial fishing sectors was 1.1 million tonnes, adding that the Federal Government had instructed all fish importers to step up their game through commercial aquaculture (pond and cage culture) in order to help reduce the importation of fish and increase local production.
The Director, International Partnership, World Fish, Mr. Davis Shearer, expressed that the organisation’s mandate was to reinforce livelihoods and boost food and nutrition security, stressing that it is only achievable by improving and delivering solutions to fisheries and aquaculture in emerging countries.
Shearer revealed that the role of the organisation was to join efforts with Nigeria to enable them attain its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly to combat poverty and hunger.
The Country Director, Egypt and Nigeria, WorldFish, Dr Harrison Karisa noted that fish was an essential household diet in the country.
Karisa expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of increase in the consumption of fish in Africa, adding that research was the way forward to advance the consumption rate.
Speaking, he said that fish consumption globally is advancing but Africa is not witnessing it, hence the need to help boost it.
The WorldFish is an international, non-profit organisation that utilises the potential of fisheries and aquaculture.
The National Project Coordinator of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), Dr. James Apochi, stressed that the project had a central focus of programme which was aquaculture and seeks to ensure that agriculture becomes more productive and sustainable while also supporting sub-regional integration.