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20% increase in catfish production by 2032

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By Mercy Kelani

A ten-year plan strategy has been devised to improve Nigeria’s catfish sector.

Nigeria is the largest producer of African catfish, one of the most valuable commercial freshwater fish species in Africa, in the world. It ranks the most popular and highly demanded fish on the local market. As the demand for fish grows significantly beyond domestic production, Nigeria works towards becoming self-sufficient in fish production. Also, because of its creation of job opportunities and business opportunities for women and youth, Nigeria, the giant of Africa, prioritizes aquaculture.

The Nigerian catfish sector, apart from providing income, also provides healthy food to millions of people inside and outside Nigeria. According to the value chain analysis conducted by FISH4ACP and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the production of the Nigerian catfish accumulated to an estimated 1,260,000 tons in 2019. 80% of the production is derived from the ponds of about 2.5 million subsistence farmers who use half for consumption and sell the remaining half to earn income.

Improvement of catfish, in quantity and quality.

Nigeria is one of the twelve countries where FISH4ACP, an initiative of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) implemented by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry For Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), works to make fish value chains more productive and sustainable. This initiative also contributes to food and Nutrition Security, economic prosperity, and job creation by ensuring the economic, social, and environmental Sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific States.

On the 29th of June, 2022, a ten-year plan for the Sustainable Development of Nigeria’s catfish sector was presented during a meeting in Abuja. The director of fisheries and aquaculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ime S. Umoh, stated that the livelihood of millions of people depends on the production of catfish. Also, he stressed that the goal is to improve domestic catfish production, in quantity and in quality, while creating better job opportunities for citizens without doing any harm to the environment.

Provision of job opportunities for millions of small-scale farmers.

Also, represented by the Deputy Director, Planning, FMARD, Mr. Ibrahim Abubakar, said that the improvement of the Nigerian Economy lies in Nigeria’s huge catfish sector because it offers good jobs without placing burden on the environment. The International Partnerships Officer of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Nigeria, Mrs. Urszula Solkiewicz, affirmed the plan for the creation of a more sustainable catfish sector in Nigeria. The execution of the plan will make a difference in Nigeria’s catfish sector.

The strategy for the development of Nigeria’s catfish sector was developed by the global fish value chain development initiative FISH4ACP, together with stakeholders from the Nigerian catfish sector. It is designed to bring about a better quality and boost the production of fresh and processed catfish, while providing more income and job opportunities for millions of small-scale farmers and workers. In addition, it bids for a climate-adapted approach that would reduce environmental and health impacts.

There would be a 30% increase in the benefit of catfish by 2032.

According to the foreshadowing of the plan, by 2032, there would be a 20 percent increase of catfish production that would yield a 30 percent increase in benefit, particularly for small-scale aquaculture producers. Also, there would be a boost in employment by 10 percent and improvement of the health of workers as a result of the reduction of air Pollution. Deforestation would likewise be discouraged, while there would be protection of waters and wildlife. About 50 stakeholders and experts concerned about Nigeria’s catfish aquaculture, having discussed the strategy, will deliberate on a set of concrete activities to implement them.

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