To boost fish production and its value chain in the country, the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) and the Federal Department of Fishery and Aquaculture (FDFA) have inaugurated the African Women Fish Processors and Traders Network (AWFISHNET).
Paul Opuama, Assistant Director of Federal Department of Fishery and Aquaculture, while inaugurating the fish network on Tuesday in Lagos, said the women association was a welcome development as it was coming when the Federal Government was concentrating on agricultural value chains
He said the government policy on agriculture would emphasise fish processing and supply of inputs, marketing and distribution of the nutritious fish-based product.
Addressing the new association, the President of FISON, Dr Lukmon Agbabiaka, represented by Dr Lekan Oguntade, said: “It is a very good development that we are having this kind of association that is ready to take on challenges of women processors.
“I know that the coming together of fish processors to face these challenges and overcome them across Africa is a very good development and according to our president, FISON is willing to support you in every aspect of your activities.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Agribusiness Innovation International Limited (AGRICON), Stella Oraka, also said women play a vital role in the fishery value chain in Nigeria, especially at the marine, artisanal and aquaculture levels.
She said according to WHO, fish has made up approximately 16 per cent of animal-based protein and 6.0% of total proteins (including plants) consumed worldwide.
Oraka also said lack of appropriate skills and training in modern farming practice and lack of access to land by women due to patrilineal inheritance are a few of the challenges faced by women in the fishery business.
While giving her closing remarks, Oraka said: “Considering the above challenges of women in the fish value chain, there is a need to assist these women to rise up and overcome their challenges in order to benefit and reap the reward of fish trade such as wealth creation, employment generation, better nutrition and education.”