Aquaculture simply means the farming of fish and other marine organisms. It basically involves the cultivation of freshwater and saltwater animals in a controlled environment.
Fish farming began about 69 years ago in Nigeria. The practice of fish farming is not the same as harvesting seawater fish. Fish farming in Nigeria started as a government driven venture in Panyam Fish Farm in 1951 in Jos, Plateau State. It’s now private sector led. Aquaculture is practiced in all regions of the country, but the most active ones are the South East, South South, South West and North Central regions of Nigeria.
Prospects of Fish Farming in Nigeria
Today, Nigeria is the largest market for fish products in Africa. Researches have revealed that fish farming is the only way to bridge the gap between total fish demand and total domestic fish production. According to these researches, Nigeria went into fish farming as a result of decrease in supply from ocean fishes due to over fishing, consumer population increase, habitats destruction and pollution.
Nigeria consumes about 2.97 million metric tons of fish per year but produces only about 1.07 million metric tons annually leaving a huge deficit of about 1.9 million metric tons to importation with import bill of $1.2b. Even the 1.07 million metric tons produced locally, only about 313,231 is produced through aquaculture, about 759,828 metric tons is through fisheries.
Problems of Fish Farming in Nigeria
Major challenges in that sector include poor fish farming methods, inadequate technical capabilities and skills, high cost of fish feeds, low financing of fish farming projects by deposit money banks, inadequate storage and processing facilities, poor quality of brood stock, flooding and market failure.
Solutions to the Problems
- Access to financing: To address some of these challenges, Central Bank of Nigeria through its various intervention programmes has to extend facility to fish value chain amounting to N21b. Under the commodity development initiative, CDI, the bank has disbursed a total of N500m to 40 companies and over 3,000 farmers across the nation. This intervention has led to annual increment of 200 metric tons mainly through fish farming. Deposit money banks, DMBs should provide credit facility for the aquaculture sector. The farmers should as well reduce the risks in their businesses to make them bankable…Here you can read complete article on solutions to fish farming problems in Nigeria