Staple crop processing zones to increase and diversify fish production (Nigeria)

According to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the federal government is putting policies and programmes in place to stimulate and stabilise fish production in Nigeria, in order to reduce the country’s reliance on imports.His media aide, Dr Olukayode Oyeleye, said the ministry was taking bold steps to diversify the fisheries sub-sector from a mainly mono-culture of catfish to include and improve upon the value chain of other species such as tilapia, Lates niloticus and shrimp.
According to Oyeleye, the entire concept of the Fish Farm Estates was being reviewed. The objectives of this development programme, which was embarked upon as a public private partnership (PPP) programme to encourage private developers, cooperative societies, and interested individuals to invest in fish farming on a large- and medium-scale, were to increase domestic production by at least 80,000t annually, generate employment for 35,000 Nigerians through fish farming annually, and reduce the gap between fish demand and supply by making farmed fish available to Nigerians for local consumption at an affordable cost.
He said that the ministry is now rather promoting the commercialisation of fish production under staple crop processing zones (SCPZs). “Four out of the 14 SCPZs have fisheries as one of the anchor crops. The SCPZs are to address the constraints of the agro-processing industry and drive social and economic impact, offer a superior operating environment for downstream players, while creating a new platform for private sector investment in agriculture.
“They will also take an integrated value chain approach to address sector constraints, including market linkages and coordinated support, and create a structured mechanism for engaging rural youths.” –