Mr Ime Umoh, the Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, says Nigeria is the largest producer of catfish in Africa.
Umoh said this at a two-day FISH4ACP workshop on Tuesday in Lagos to unveil a 10-year plan for the sustainable development of Nigeria’s catfish sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the FISH4ACP workshop is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) implemented by FAO.
The project is funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Umoh was represented at the event by Mr Ibrahim Abubakar, the Deputy Director, Planning, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
He said Nigeria’s huge catfish sector could improve production and offer better jobs without additional burden on the environment.
“Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of African catfish on which millions of people’s livelihoods depend.
“Our goal is to improve domestic catfish production, not only in quantity but also in quality, while providing better jobs for our people and ensure no harm is done to the environment,” he said.
“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 of employment and the health of workers would improve due to measures reducing air pollution.
“While at the same time halting deforestation, protecting waters and wildlife,”he said.
Also speaking, Mrs Urszula Sołkiewicz, International Partnerships Officer of the EU Delegation in Nigeria, said that Europe supports the plan for more sustainable catfish sector in Nigeria.
“This ambitious plan for a more sustainable catfish sector that offers prosperity to small-scale producers and better jobs to fish worker.
“FISH4ACP’s is a flag bearer of the EU’s development support for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. It will make a difference to 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 FAO.
Dr Fred Kafeero, FAO’s Representative in Nigeria and to the ECOWAS, said experts, stakeholders and participants would in the next two days discuss the strategy in details to enhance the sector.
He said that the workshop would set the agenda for FISH4ACP in the years to come and beyond its completion in 2025.
“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,” he said. (NAN)