2.4 million Fish Imports Drain Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves – FG
The Federal Government has lamented on the increase of fish importation in the country. Its says Nigeria imports about 2.4 million metric tonnes of frozen fish annually and this is taking a toll on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the Internal Coordination Meeting of Implementation of Fisheries Governance Project Phase Two in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Mahmood, says Nigeria’s annual fish demand was 3.6 million metric tonnes, but only 1.2MMT was produced domestically.
Mahmood, who was represented by the Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ime Umoh, said, “Nigeria is a very large country and we need about 3.6MMT per annum but we are able to produce only 1.2MMT through the artisanal, industrial and aquaculture.
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“The deficit is being supplemented by frozen fish importation, which is being used to bridge the gap. It is not actually that we are going to have 2.5 million metric tonnes brought into the country, but we have a situation that we supplement with frozen fish imports.”
In the same development, Umoh revealed that the federal government has licenced 164 vessels to operate on territorial waters and exclusive economic zone.
He says this was one of the achievement recorded by of the Department in its activities saying local production had been boosted.
Mr Umoh, who said that Nigeria had benefited from Phase 1 of the FISHGOV project, and the success was glaring, expressed optimism that the Phase 2 would also boost fish production in Nigeria.
“The Minister of Agriculture has a very big passion for fishing production because we believe that fish is the cheapest source of protein and the total fish for the country is more than 3.6 metric tons.