The Federal Government has recorded a drastic decline in fish importation in the first five months of the year. This has saved the nation N11.7 billion.
A data from Chile’s Under Secretariat for Fisheries and Aquaculture, USFA, revealed that Nigeria’s cut in export represents the biggest drop in Chile’s fish exports year-on-year. It noted that this year alone, Chile’s Mackerel export to Nigeria has dropped by 26.4 per cent.
Similarly, companies engaged in fish export to Nigeria have been forced into the production of fishmeal as against frozen fish.
The report further revealed that Nigeria currently has a total local fish production of about 600,000 metric tonnes per annum, which is expected to rise to about 700,000 metric tonnes in the coming year, while the importation’s estimate stands at 700,000 metric tonnes.
If fish is readily available, consumption in Nigeria is expected to rise to 2.6 million tonnes, valued at $612 million, with a per capita consumption of 13.5 kilogrammes.
Last year alone, Chile’s sales of Mackerel fish to Nigeria recorded a 28.1 per cent decline due to cancellation of contract in the African market.
Nigeria joins the US, South Korea, Spain and others as Chile’s frozen fish export partners, but with measures adopted by the Nigerian government in 2013, import of fish was capped to between 125,000 and 180,000 tonnes.
The report noted: “As of the start of 2014, Nigeria introduced import quotas for fish, resulting in a decline in sales volume for frozen horse mackerel at the end of June 2014, when compared with the same period in 2013.
“The company has chosen to use parts of its quota for production of fishmeal and oil, a decision made necessary by the difficult market situation for frozen horse mackerel,”
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said that government was working on an integrated policy that would gradually deliver the country from the wasteful importation and embrace Nigeria’s abundant aquatic resources, which has remained untapped.