The National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN), on Monday in Abuja, urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the country’s fisheries sub-sector.
The National Publicity Secretary of the association, Chief Chidike Ukoh, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the call became necessary so as to revamp the ailing agricultural sub-sector.
NFAN is an umbrella body for fisheries and aquaculture industry value chain in Nigeria with a mandate to ensure productivity enhancement, management and coordination of the development of the sub-sector.
According to Ukoh, the call for a state of emergency was in compliance with government’s intention to stop fish importation from 2022.
He further urged government to review the Economics of Production on fish to engender ease of doing business and reduce frustrations faced by farmers in accessing facilities.
While emphasising the need to assist fish feed millers with subsidised inputs to address rising cost of production, Ukoh canvassed for the creation of special fund for small holder farmers.
According to him, this would ensure guaranteed minimum price for fishery products across the value chain.
Ukoh also called for the establishment of integrated fish processing centres in the six geo political zones of the country to prevent post-harvest losses.
“How you store the fishes that are imported cannot be the way you store the fish that are produced here.
“You need maximum energy to store to that level that is brought in from abroad.
“That will require serious expertise to put it in place as a cold room that is of standard and the energy to power the preservation systems.
“The first port of call in preservation after production is to have it processed,’’ he said.
Ukoh said that fishery production remained significant to the country’s economy in view of its role in providing cheap source of food and nutrition, income and employment. (NAN)