Cooperative federation decries neglect of fishing industry
Members of the Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Nigeria Limited (FCFNL) have expressed worry over the neglect of the nation’s fishing industry, noting that the sector is still plagued with poor budgetary allocations both by the State and Federal government.
FCFNL said the sector has been totally neglected by the previous administrations considering the fact that fish is the most populous and cheapest animal protein free of cholesterol.
The President, FCFNL, Anthony Ashagye, during the South-West Zonal Fisheries awareness rally and inauguration, said the inauguration was to expose and explore the inland and marine fisheries opportunities in the country. He said the fishing industry in Nigeria contributes about 60 per cent to the national economy while also pointing out that children in fish producing areas hardly suffer from malnutrition.
He said despite the natural and health benefits the commodity offers, it has been plagued by poor budgetary allocations by both federal and state governments, maintaining that about 65 per cent of fishery projects across the country have been abandoned and that has affected the industry.
He noted that fish commodity is a source of food security, poverty reduction, employment generation, wealth creation and gender equity, stating that fishermen constitute about 80 per cent of grass root that are self employed and unacknowledged by the federal government.
“With these vast potential, fishery is merged under livestock sub-sector and lacks institutional capacity for its administration. It is pertinent to say categorically that there is more to gain in water than on land,” he said.
He however commended the efforts of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, for launching the Green Alternative agriculture policy 2016-2020, which he said is a step in the right direction considering the role and contribution of agriculture for economic development.
“As a leading private sector group in the fisheries sub-sector, the federation is ready to collaborate with FMARD to ensure the success of this policy,” he said.
He said the federation is soliciting for the establishment of Ministry of Fisheries and Aqua culture in Nigeria in order to upgrade the diversification agenda of the present administration to non-oil sector.
He also called for an increase in the budgetary allocations to the fisheries industry, stressing that the sector constitutes a major role in diversifying the economy owing to its competitive and comparative advantage to other sub sectors.
Also speaking at the event, the Lagos State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development ( FMARD), Mrs Olufunmilola Olusanya, said the federal government under the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) has been selling inputs at 50 per cent subsidy to the fishermen, noting that the fishery sub sector and the aquaculture offer so many opportunities in processing and exporting.
“There are so many avenues the sector can attract foreign and local investment into the country. The FCFN South West Zone is creating awareness among stakeholders before carrying along all other small fisheries body.
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