Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina
By Anayo Okolie
Federal Government has promised to improve the production of fish to bridge the gap between the demand and supply.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who stated this in Lagos, during his visit to the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), said Nigeria cannot continue to support the economy of other countries in the importation of fish despite the enormous local opportunities in the country.
He however charged the management of NIOMR to play the role expected of it as the only research institute with marine fisheries mandate in Nigeria in stopping the importation of fish to enable Nigeria strategise and get to the level of exporting cultured shrimps.
Adesina noted that the Federal Government has committed 50 per cent of the cost on the building of 36.3 LOA Oceanography and Fisheries deep sea research vessel for the purpose of exploring deep sea resources, saying the vessel will enable Nigeria improve in the production of fish (beyond the level of 50m deep to 200m deep).
Speaking further, he said throughout the world, aquaculture is seen as panacea for meeting the increasing demand for fish as catches from open waters decline due to over exploitation and degradation of fish habitats and Nigeria is not an exception.
According to him, to our advantage, Nigeria has 14 million hectares of land where aquaculture can be undertaken apart from various dams in different parts of Nigeria for culture based fisheries.
Adesina said: “To optimise on sustainable basis, research activities will continuously be strengthened to develop improved aquaculture techniques/management practices to address the constraints facing the sub-sector.”