Nigerians have been advised to shift focus on shrimps farming to generate additional foreign exchange for the country, as the local species has been adjudged to be one among the best in the world.
Gbola Akande, the Executive Director, Nigerian Institute of Oceanography stated this while speaking with INDEPENDENT, saying that it is now left for farmers to look the way of shrimps farming.
He also asserted that aquaculture is the best way to tackle food crisis and also a way to earn more foreign exchange into the country provided the government is determined to address the issue of food security in the country.
Emphasising that shrimps farming remain another viable way for the country to earn foreign exchange, Akande stated that Nigeria shrimps is exported as a favourite in European Countries and the United States of America (USA).
However, he said the major challenge in the high sea is that there are lots of poaching taking place because the country does not have the capability to monitor its water.
“The problem we have in the high sea is that a lot of poaching is taking place because we are not able to monitor our waters, we don’t have the capability to monitor our waters, but as regards shrimps, it is the only one now that we are getting a foreign exchange from”, he said
Speaking further, he expressed pessimism on the dwindling quantity of shrimps available in the country’s waters, saying that it is now imperative for farmers in the country to embracing mass production of the seafood.
He hinted of a company that has acquired about 120 hectares of land in Badagry basically for shrimps farming in commercial quantity and processing for exports.
Regrettably, he lamented that it is difficult to export processed shrimps because the company needs EU certification for cultured shrimps.
“We cannot export it now because we need to have EU certification for cultured shrimps but for shrimps that are harvested from the ocean there is no problem for that, we have been exporting that,” he said.
Speaking further he said fish has contributed to food security through employment opportunities, provision of animal protein and other benefits.
However, he said the annual demand for fish in the country is put at 3.4 million metric tonnes but Nigeria currently produces 968,243 metric tonnes annually and import about 800,000 metric tonnes annually leaving the supply gap of 1.6million metric tonnes.
Business – Independent Nigeria