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To boost local production, FG plans to rest issuing fish importation quota

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, in Abuja on Tuesday, revealed that the Federal Government is concluding plans to end issuance of fish importation quota to importers.

According to him, the practice is becoming burdensome and therefore no longer feasible.

In his remarks during a meeting with the Ijebu Development Initiative on Poverty Reduction (IDIPR) in Abuja, Lokpobiri made it clear that apart from the inherent loss of foreign exchange, “stopping the trade would help boost local production of fish and other aspects of agriculture in the country”.

“The current deficit in fish in Nigeria is over two million tonnes and urged citizens to invest to boost fish production and create jobs in the sector.

“We realised that fish import is no more sustainable and what we did was to encourage those that import it to think of the backward integration by reducing the quota year by year in agreement with the CBN.

“Very soon, we are not going to give quota for fish importation. We want everybody to set up their fish farms, employ our people and create jobs for our people.

“When we came last two years, Nigeria was producing about 700,000 tonnes of fish but this has increased to about 1.2 million tonnes which means that there has been an increment of 400 tonnes.

“This increase represents more than 50 per cent of what we were producing,’’ he said.

The minister quoted the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as saying that Ijebu community had the highest number of fish clusters in the world.

In his response, the Chairman, Board of Directors of the initiative, Prof. Olanipekun Alausa listed some challenges hindering the agricultural initiative to include inadequate access to loans and lack of modern agricultural tools for mechanised farming.

Prof Alausa recalled that the association was established in 1999 as a non-governmental organisation, to drive community development with the aim of reducing poverty and improving the livelihood of people, using agriculture and micro-credit among others.

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