By Bukola Adewumi
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says its FISH4ACP project in Nigeria would boost catfish production and African catfish value chain, which is worth 625 million dollars.
FISH4ACP is “an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) contributing to food and nutrition security, economic prosperity and job creation by ensuring the economic, social and environmental sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture value chains.”
FAO Representative in Nigeria Fred Kafeero, said this during the FISH4ACP Catfish Value Chain Analysis Validation Workshop on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the production of fisheries in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries has grown from 4.6 million tons in 1990 to 8.5 million tons in 2016 as aquaculture production jumped from 50, 000 tons to 790, 000 tons within the same period.
The Country Representative, who was represented by Dr Abubakar Suleiman, said that the project in Nigeria would give special attention to developing small-holder fish farmers and creating multiple jobs.
Kafeero said the production represents less than 10 per cent of global fish trade as Nigeria’s aquaculture production increased from 22,000 tons to over 300,000 tons in 2017.
“The project focuses on catfish and for this, the inception phase of the project commenced with a comprehensive analysis of the catfish value chain.
“This is very important not only in generating evidence but also in designing and upgrading strategy that will aligned to the strategic objectives of the project.
“FISH4ACP will pay special attention to small and medium-sized businesses, because of their potential to deliver economic and social benefits, particularly for women and youth,” he said.
He however expressed concern that increased pressure on ecosystems and the impacts of climate change has continued to hamper the contribution of the sector to economic growth, food and nutritional security.
Also speaking, the Director of Fishery Department, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ime Umoh, said that government had made enormous investment towards growing the Fishery sector in the country.
Umoh also added that machinery has been put in place to support the FAO’s fishery project success.
NAN reports that FISH4ACP is a five-year initiative currently implemented by FAO to address gaps and contribute to food and nutrition security, economic prosperity and job creation.
It is to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture value chains in ACP.
The project is funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The intervention seeks to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of 12 fisheries and aquaculture value chains in 10 OACPS member countries, making sure that economic improvements go hand in hand with environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness.(NAN)