Awaji-Inombek Abiante, deputy chairman of the House Committee on Agricultural Institutions, has called on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to create a ministry for fisheries and aquaculture in order to reap greater gains from the fishing industry.
Abiante disclosed this at the 16th Fellowship Investitures and Launching of N500 Million Building Fund for National Secretariat of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria, hosted in Abuja by the association’s national president, Agbabiaka Lukman Adegoke.
Fish represents an important dietary element and one of the few sources of animal protein available to many Nigerians. Of the country’s total domestic production, more than 80 percent is generated by artisanal small-scale fishers.
The aquaculture sector is driven by the private sector, with feed and other farm inputs being provided mainly by private business.
Abiante disclosed that the fishing industry, with a global value of over $200 billion, has the potential to open up the Nigerian economy, adding that the import value of fish in Nigeria is over $1 billion, which is enough to take care of the capital budget requirements of two ministries.
“I was talking to the minister when he came for budget defense and there was this seeming admittance that the ministry is actually big, talking about agriculture, rural development, fisheries, livestock and other things.
“When you are talking about policy direction, in China they have a separate ministry for aquaculture and fisheries. In Morocco, they have a defined driver of this. In Japan, it is the same thing, Denmark also.
“So, we are saying that it is high time Nigerian Government considered creation of a separate ministry for fisheries, aquaculture and ocean resources. We should have that established to drive the policy and enable us to get the benefits from what we are doing,” Abiante advised.