The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development yesterday launched the implementation phase for the sustainable development of the catfish value chain in Nigeria.
The project, Fish4ACP which is currently funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OCAPS) to contribute to food security and nutrition, economic prosperity and job creation.
The initiative aimed to ensure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in the aforementioned states and will analyse the catfish value chain, create employment opportunities, foster capacity development, facilitate access to business investment and enhance competitiveness in the sector.
At it launched in Abuja yesterday, FAO representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero said the project remains an excellent opportunity to reiterate the organisation’s commitment for a blue transformation of the catfish sub-sector, vital for food security, the economy and people’s livelihoods.
Kafeero said Nigeria remains a very important and strategic member state in the development and upgrading of the catfish value chain.
According to the European Union (EU) delegation to Nigeria, by supporting the catfish strategy, it strive to address the challenges faced by catfish farmers and entrepreneurs in Nigeria and beyond, including strengthening the capacities of African countries to sustainably manage their fisheries resources, enhance the competitiveness of the sector, and foster regional cooperation.
The delegation represented by Frank Okafor at the event said the union is committed to supporting Nigeria and other African countries in achieving their sustainable development goals through technical assistance, capacity building, and financial resources to ensure the success of the African Catfish Strategy.
In his remarks, the permanent secretary, ministry of agriculture and rural development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe said the ministry is committed to further increasing aquaculture production by an additional 250.000 metric tonnes in order to meet domestic demands and reduce fish import.