Nigeria is the largest producer of catfish in Africa, Mr Ime Umoh, director of fisheries and aquaculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said on Tuesday.
Umoh stated this at the two-day FISH4ACP workshop in Lagos to map out a 10-year plan on improving catfish production in Nigeria.
Our correspondent gathered that the workshop is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).
The scheme is executed by FAO. It is sponsored by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Umoh, represented Mr Ibrahim Abubakar, deputy director, planning, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, added that Nigeria’s potential in catfish could provide millions of jobs to the populace.
He said, “Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of African catfish on which millions of people’s livelihoods depend. Our goal is to improve domestic catfish production, not only in quantity but also in quality, while providing better jobs for our people and ensure no harm is done to the environment.
“By 2032, the plan foresees a 20% increase of catfish production that would lead to 30% more benefit, in particular for small-scale aquaculture producers.
“There would be a 10% growth of employment and the health of workers would improve due to measures reducing air pollution. It will also reduce deforestation, protecting waters and wildlife.”
Mrs Urszula Sołkiewicz, international partnerships officer of the EU Delegation in Nigeria, said, “This plan is for a more sustainable catfish sector that offers prosperity to small-scale producers and better jobs to fish worker. FISH4ACP’s is a flag-bearer of the EU’s development support for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. It will make a difference to Nigeria’s catfish sector.
“Nigeria is one of the 12 countries where FISH4ACP, an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and implemented by FAO.”