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Government sets to enhance shrimp exports

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By Mercy Kelani

There was a 35.9 percent exportation decline, between 2017 and 2018.

Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), during the first quarter (Q1) of 2023 had exported frozen shrimp and prawns worth N5.13 billion. Exportation of this seafood in Nigeria declined by 35.9 percent — from N8.8 billion in 2017 to N5.64 billion in 2018. Research and Markets, a leading business intelligence company, has said that the Global Shrimp Market is predicted to be $69.35 billion by 2028. The report stated that the shrimp demand is rising not only in the food industry.

Other sectors including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and healthcare are demanding the seafood. This is majorly because of the beneficial properties it possesses such as anti-aging and antioxidant effects. As a means of enhancing growth, the Lagos Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, emphasized the need for the broadening of the capacity of the industry. This act, in her words, will aid an increase in the productivity, profitability, quality, and environmental sustainability of shrimp farming by smallholders in the industry.

Investors will be supported to increase the number of trawlers in Lagos.

Olusanya added that the Lagos State Government is willing to work with operators towards the implementation of several measures to support the involvement of trawl fisheries in shrimp harvesting in the deep waters. Investors will be supported to aid an increase in the number of trawlers that work around Lagos coastal waters. By doing so, the Commissioner believes that the growth of industrial shrimp trawling will be positively impacted. She added that there is a great potential to leverage on.

Prof. Martins Antekhai, a fisheries expert, in his comment, blamed the decline in shrimps export on increased input costs. He stated that due to issues of biosecurity measures, collaborating with external professional parties in the research and development (R&D) effort to improve farming, and investment in health management practices, local players in the industry face the challenge of higher logistics costs. He also said that shrimp farmers have had to take on greater expenses for protection from the insecurity ravaging the country.

Due to high demand the industry has had a stable long-term growth prospect.

He added that Nigerian marine waters face daily attacks by armed robbers in shrimp trawling vessels, which usually leads to maiming and killing of crew members. However, Antekhai highlighted that due to high demand the industry has experienced a stable long-term growth prospect. He further stated that local producers are depending on the support of the government for sustenance of the growth of the industry. He expressed optimism about the new heights that would be achieved by the government in the sector through a strategy to be developed by the Ministry of Blue Economy.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has classified as ideal for the One State One Product (OSOP) Programme fisheries and seafood products in Adamawa, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Lagos States. The Director-General of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Ezra Yakusak, stated that the essence of this programme is to prepare seafood exporters to take advantage of and leverage on the rising demand and market share for their products in the global market. In January, Lagos State launched an export committee for the reinvigoration of agricultural activities and broad production in the state.

Lagos State is working to increase players in the non-oil export sector.

In a statement at the Seventh Trade Fair organized by the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) in Lagos State, the Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives Trade and Investment, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, asserted that the committee of representatives of the ministries, agencies, and departments, and experts from several professions are working towards the increment of the number of players in the non-oil export sector. This is with the major aim of growing the economy of Lagos state and Nigeria as a whole.

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