Chief Tayo Akingbolagun, the National President, Catfish Association of Nigeria (CAFAN) said Nigeria produced 370,000 metric tonnes of catfish in 2016.

Akingbolagun spoke on Tuesday in Benin, during the association’s Annual General Meeting.

Akingbolagun put the value of the 370,000 metric tonnes of fish at over N175 billion, adding that fish business contributed about 4.5 per cent to the nation’s GDP.

He said that the fish business provided over two million jobs to Nigerians, cutting across the various sectors of the economy.

“Following decreasing revenue from the oil and gas, the focus of our government is to reposition Nigeria’s revenue platforms through investment in agriculture.

“Fish is one of the vital sectors that are being considered, as it is the best and cheapest source of animal protein for human consumption,” Akingbolagun said.

According to him, fish feeds accounted for between 65 and 75 per cent of cost of production.

Akingbolagun said in addition, a five per cent value added tax was charged on locally produced fish feeds.

The president noted that this had pushed up the cost of production, as farmers had to buy their feeds at very high cost.

He decried government’s tax policies, describing them as retrogressive in the bid to reposition the revenue base of the country from oil to agriculture.

“The Federal Government should quickly address the problem so as to encourage the growth and sustainability of the aquaculture sector,” Akingbolagun said. (NAN)