By Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
Nigeria is spending over N1 billion on the importation of fish annually despite being the second largest producer of the commodity on the continent.
The Director General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Mr Aboyomi Oguntunde, stated this at the closing ceremony of collaborative Training Workshop on Fish Spawning and Breeding Management Techniques in Kano over the weekend.
The workshop was organised by Bioresources Development Centre, Kano in collaboration with the Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University Kano.
He said with the huge amount of money being spent on importation of fish, it was a clear indication that there was a production deficit and hence the need to fill the gap in the face of growing population.
Oguntunde stressed the need for the country to ensure increased fish production, job opportunities as well as improve the living standard of the rural populace through increased income and contributions to the nationâ€™s food security and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He noted that the training programme was timely considering the current economic situation in the country following the dwindling oil prices across global oil markets.
He said, the choice of the theme, â€œThe Fisheries Sub-sector and Declining Oil-baesd Economy:Paradigm Shift for Economic Diversification and Employment Generation,â€ could not have been better than now.
The director general said the agency would continue to support similar training with a view to strengthening the nationâ€™s economy.
He said the centre, established in 2011, was leading in training and research to achieve sustainable farming and livestock breeding system and manage natural resources in the face of changing climate, market fluctuations and expanding population.
In his remarks, the Director, Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University Kano, Professor Jibrin
Mohammed, said inadequate human resources was one of the key challenges facing sustainable development of the dry lands of West and Central Africa.
He said the focus of CDA was on integrating manpower training with research and outreach response to developmental needs of the region.
He added that at the same time it includes supporting improved technologies required to adapt to the changing environments in the dry lands, thus contributing to attainment of food security and poverty reduction.