Fish farmers in Oyo State have been urged to meet up with export protocols in order to benefit from the ever lucrative fish market as the country awaits the lifting on ban on Nigeria’s catfish to the United States of America.
The Trade Promotion Advisor of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Ibadan Export Assistance Office, Mrs. Bolanle Emmanuel, who said this at a technical capacity building programme on best practices for the production of catfish for export, advised fish farmers to take advantage of the various opportunities in the fish export market.
The event, which held at the NUT House, Ibadan recently attracted fish farmers across Oyo State.
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Emmanuel noted that, “the ban on Nigeria in exporting catfish to the United States of America is as a result of unhygienic and unacceptable practices of production of fish and aquaculture.”
She however enjoined farmers to be ready to swing into action as soon as the ban is lifted soon.
“The Federal Department of Fisheries is working to ensure the ban is lifted. So as the government is working, farmers should be export ready. They should not only be export ready, but should also strategise to meet the home need because there is an unending need back home too. So there is great opportunities for the fish farmers and they must be ready to meet the fish deficit as the country still has.
“Presently according to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, Nigeria produces a little over one million metric tons of fish while there is still a deficit of over 2.5m metric tons which the country imports each year. The country currently has annual consumption of 3.6m metric tonnes. Fish farmers should know there is grat untapped potentialities in the sector,” she said.
Delivering a paper on Best Practices for Production and Processing of Catfish for Export, Mrs. Oladosu Lydia Olanike from the Federal Department of Fishery and Agriculture (FDFA) Lagos, encouraged fish farmers and producers not to reduce their efforts in breeding fish due to the temporary ban but to apply the best practices of production which will make their smoked catfish acceptable anywhere.
According to Oladosu, catfish farmers who have no capacity to process should approach those who have such capacity in order to ensure the best practices.