The federal government has confirmed the supply of 1.1 million metric tonnes of fish to cover the deficit of 2.1 million metric tonnes.

This was disclosed by the minister of state for agriculture and rural development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, during the launch of the first premium aquaculture harvesting of Tilapia fish in Nigeria at the Oyan Dam on the Ogun-Osun River Basin site in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Lokpobiri said that the increase in fish production in the country was a result of the government’s policy of backward integration of breeding fish locally and reduction in fish importation.

He said, “The federal government has remained committed to the agriculture sector, particularly the aquaculture industry which is a major component of the sector, and has, therefore, formulated policies to upscale fish production for self sufficiency and food security.

“We are working hard to close the deficit of demand on fish in Nigeria and also to meet the fish demand in West Africa, which  depends on us as a country, including grain supply to them. We have confirmed the increase in production from the 800 metric tonnes in 2015 to the current supply of 1.1 million metric tonnes which has upscaled production to meet the deficit of 2.1 million metric tonnes gap. This increase was achieved through the policy of backward integration of breeding fish locally, thereby reducing the importation to cut the pressure on the foreign exchange (forex).”

Meanwhile, the minister has encouraged investors to invest in fish production and assured them of government’s support in areas of expansion and others as it did to Premium Aquaculture Limited. In his remarks, the managing director of Premium Aquaculture Limited, Mr Prakash Aildasani, revealed that his company would supply 10 to 12 million fingerlings to outgrowers who would be trained to scale up capacity development and productivity in the fish industry.

Earlier the minister paid a courtesy visit to the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta. Obasanjo, who was a special guest at the occasion, expressed optimism that what Premium Aquaculture was doing would actualise his dream of zero hunger by the year 2025 in Nigeria and Africa