• The Fisheries Department says that the charge is unreasonable
Fish farmers in Nigeria raised the alarm that importers and officials of frozen fish in the Department of Fisheries, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are sabotaging efforts to revive local fish production. The Association of Catfishes and Allies for Fish Farming of Nigeria (CAFFAN), through its National President, Mr. Rotimi Ola, disclosed this in an exclusive form.
He argued that the directors of the Department of Fisheries are under the influence of frozen fish importers in order to increase quotas for fish imports. He said: "Let me tell you about another happening in Nigeria, which prevents politics from working. The data we use is invented. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), when the ministry tries to determine the amount of fish that we consume in Nigeria, they use 180 million people to multiply 15 kilograms of fish consumed by ordinary Nigeria in order to obtain several tons of fish consumed locally.
"Then they will figure out the figure as the number of local production per year. The deficit must be imported. They are currently using a deficit to put pressure on the federal government to grant permission for the importation of frozen fish, "he said. He accused the department of producing fictitious figures for selfish purposes, saying that he was the president of CAFFAN, no one in the Ministry of Agriculture had ever collected data on production from him or other members, but they were producing fake manufacturing data.
"As I grow fish, no one collects a single digit from me. This applies to all my members. " He added that the National Bureau of Statistics has a production indicator for 2017, and he asked them about the source of their numbers, but they did not return to it.
"They use this figure to pressure the government to approve the import of frozen fish. This is our problem. The small progress that we make in the aquaculture industry is private initiatives. "There are many camps for IDPs in Nigeria, and they are fed with all sorts of food, including imported fish. They do not patronize local fish, because fish importers have proven themselves in the system, "he complains.
However, a member of the Nigerian Fisheries Society, based in Ibadan, who demanded anonymity, said that once there is a problem, someone would always like to blame another person. He said: "I am engaged in local fish farming. What happens to a local farmer who does not have a large farm is that when some large farmers get into the industry, he feels threatened. "
He added that the only way that fish can be cheaper in Nigeria is to reduce the cost of feed. But the cost is growing, because the feed will consume 80 to 90 percent of the cost. In approving the CAFFAN application, he said: "We imported 1 million metric tons of fish annually, but last year the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Fisheries, gave us 600,000 metric tons, and we did not import up to 400,000 tons."
This year, he added, the ministry provided an import quota of 450,000 tons, but the fish still imported is still less than 200,000 metric tons. "Every importer reduced fish imports, because the cost of this is very high due to the exchange rate," he said.
Denying the allegations, Mr. Moise Mohammed, Director of Fisheries at the Ministry, admitted that the department uses the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) estimates, insisting that the annual annual demand for fish is 3.5 million tons per year in accordance with the WHO / FAO average annual volume of fish consumption per capita is 18 kg. However, he said that the charge was unfounded, as the government approved only 800,000 metric tons for 2017, of which only 485,000 tons were imported.