Stakeholders task Nigerians to bridge aquaculture gaps to boost fish export

Stakeholders task Nigerians to bridge aquaculture gaps to boost fish export
Written by Maritime First

… As Experts task PAN, stakeholders on high cost of poultry feed***

Some stakeholders in the Nigerian aquaculture subsector have harped on the need to bridge the gaps in the sector to foster international acceptance of locally grown fish.

The stakeholders said this at the ongoing Norwegian Seafood Council capacity training for fishery officers and stakeholders in Lagos.

The Norwegian Seafood Council representative, Mrs Abbey Cheke, harped on the importance of the training and capacity building to equip the sector for global acceptance.

Cheke said that the training for Nigerian fishery officers and stakeholders would strengthen the sector in line with global standards.

“The training and capacity building for Nigerian fishery officers and stakeholders is the Norwegian government’s way of bridging the gap in the Nigerian aquaculture sector.

“By God’s grace today, the Norwegian Seafood Council and her government have put together capacity building and training workshops for the aquaculture sector in Nigeria.

“Everybody actively involved in catfish and tilapia farming and export in Nigeria knows that there is a big gap.

“The big gap is that processed fish whether filleted fresh or smoked catfish or tilapia fish is not allowed to access European markets or any international market.

“Nigerian fish is banned from entry into any international market because of certain logistics we do have in place.

“Norway is our best bet in getting experts to put us through in meeting international best practices when it comes to fish exports, she said.

She noted that Norwegian aquaculture is the most sustainable in the world.

“As of today, Norwegian aquaculture is the most sustainable in the world, as they continue to bag aquaculture and marine sustainability certificates in the last two years.

“We want the best for Nigerian aquaculture and its export hence the necessity of this training.

“If we get it right in the Nigerian aquaculture sector, our fish will be accepted globally and removed from the ban list across international markets,” Cheke said.

The Director-General, Department of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Norway, Mr Erling Rimestead, said the training and capacity building would foster the age-long trade relationship between Nigeria and Norway.

“We hope the training will help to further develop the fishery industry in Nigeria.

“We want to help improve locally produced fish and make Nigeria a seafood producer globally.

“I hope the capacity building workshop will be fruitful and further strengthen the cooperation between Norway and Nigeria in the seafood trade.

On his part, Mr Samson Alatise, from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Development Finance Department, said the apex bank is ready to finance the fish sector to the next level.

“As far as CBN is concerned we are keen on financing agriculture and not only rice alone.

“Fish is one of the focal activities that CBN concentrates on and for now we have a ‘Fish Champion’, a committee, set up to finance fish farming in Nigeria.

“The problem we have with fish financing under our Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme is lack of a viable anchor to off-take the fish from the farmers.

“Lack of a viable anchor is limiting the CBN’s participation in terms of fish farming financing.

“We hope with this capacity building and training workshop, the issue of getting viable anchors will be addressed to boost the aquaculture sector,” Alatise said.

The National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) representative, Mr Danjuma Haruna, said as a regulatory body, the agency is set to help bridge gaps in local fish export acceptance.

“It is a great honour to be here among our esteemed stakeholders to witness the capacity building of stakeholders involved in fish farming, processing and exports.

“NAFDAC is statutorily mandated to safeguard the health of the nation and this can only be achieved when the right quality and safe inputs are used in fish farming and processing

“So the agency wishes to inform participants at the training that NAFDAC play a crucial role in the regulation of inputs such as fish feeds, preservatives and additives used in fish farming, processing and exports.

“There are regulatory measures that the agency has put in places such as the issuance of work permit for the importation of these additives, laboratory culture and inspection and enforcement.

“The agency will like to thank the Norwegian Seafood Council for putting forth this training and we look forward to further collaboration to ensure safe and quality fish and fish products for local consumption and exports,” Haruna sai.

The Superintendent of Customs, UG Mustapha, Apapa Customs Command, also reiterated the customs readiness to put intending fish exporters and importers on the statutory guidelines for international trade.

“We are proud to be associated with this training and capacity building for fisheries officers and stakeholders in the aquaculture sector.

“We are committed to provide seamless guidelines to import and export procedures and the facilitation of fish trade and exports in Nigeria.

“We will enlighten the participants on customs procedures on export and import of fish products in Nigeria,” Mustapha said.

In the meantime, experts have urged the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) to collaborate with other stakeholders to address the high cost of feed in poultry farming and minimize other challenges.

They made the call in Ibadan on Tuesday, at the 2022 annual Zonal workshop of PAN, Ibadan Zone one, Oyo State.

The event which had the theme: ‘The Recurrent Inputs Challenges in Industry; The Way Out’, had in attendance poultry farmers and other key players in the industry.

In her lecture, Prof. Omolade Oladele, Avian Unit, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan said there must be adequate planning to reduce the high cost of feed in poultry farming, a major challenge militating against farmers in Nigeria.

“Stakeholders, PAN and others in the agricultural products such as Maize and Soybeans farmers, must come together to celebrate and determine the quality of soybeans and maize production per year, how much is needed by the poultry industry and the deficit,” she said.

She said with this knowledge PAN can then approach the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria requesting that a certain amount of feed components is needed to be imported as there is a ban on the commodities.

“Until we are able to produce enough, we need to allow for the importation of just the deficits identified by PAN.”

Oladele said the exportation of Soybeans should be discouraged for now and all leakages must be blocked until local consumption is satisfied.

The don enjoined PAN to step up a solid marketing plan for egg production as this would assist in taking the egg business to new heights, and turn the business goals into reality by providing PAN with direction, deadlines, actionable tactics and more.

Another speaker, Dr James Wageti, the General Manager, Adamore Nig. Ltd, enjoined farmers to reduce unnecessary waste in feeding their birds, to cut cost of production and ensure efficiency for greater output.

“Challenges in poultry production are not only limited to Nigeria, it is a global issue.

Prices of raw materials for feed keep going up and it is compounded by crises in other parts of the world, such as the Ukraine and Russia war.

“So, poultry farmers need to be efficient in managing their resources well and ensuring productivity.

“They need to avoid things that amount to hidden losses in poultry,” Wageti said.

He charged them to embrace best practices and adopt the India strategy to increase egg consumption.

Earlier in his address, Mr Abiola Abiodun, Chairman, PAN, Ibadan Zone one and a Vice president in Oyo State, highlighted the importance of poultry farming in Nigeria as a major contribution to the livelihoods of many Nigerians.

Abiodun noted that the industry had been facing enormous difficulties causing some farmers to reduce their workforce, while forcing some out of jobs.

“We are gathered here to identify the way out to some of the current input challenges facing the poultry industry,” he said.


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