We are play­ing pol­i­tics with agri­cul­ture and I think it will not be good for us in the long run. From all in­di­ca­tions, the fu­ture of this coun­try lies with the agri­cul­ture and this en­tirely de­pends on what we do now to sus­tain a bet­ter fu­ture for our chi

Stake­hold­ers de­lib­er­ate on ex­port of shrimps

Daily Trust - - INTERVIEW - From Nahimah Ajikanle Nu­rudeen, La­gos

As agri­cul­ture continues to be seen as the most vi­able means of eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion in Nigeria, one of the ar­eas now be­ing con­sid­ered by Nige­ri­ans is fish­ery which can be best achieved in a river­side area like La­gos State. Usu­ally, La­gos State Govern­ment has con­cen­trated its agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties on as­pects where it has com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage such as fish­eries.

This de­vel­op­ment in­formed the need for the hold­ing of a brain­storm­ing ses­sion dur­ing a re­gional work­shop or­gan­ised by the Food and Agri­cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (FAO) on the Use of Ecosys­tem Ap­proach for Fish­eries Man­age­ment (EAF-Nansen Project) which, among other sus­tain­abil­ity is­sues, fo­cused on the ap­praisal of the Shrimp Fish­eries Man­age­ment plans of the key par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries - Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon.

Speak­ing at the open­ing ple­nary of the Work­shop, FAO Co-co­or­di­na­tor, Dr. Kwame Ko­ran­teng, stated that the project was par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant given the amount of wealth gen­er­ated from shrimp fish­eries and the no­table con­tri­bu­tion of the fish­eries sub-sec­tor to the Na­tional Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP) of the par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries.

In her key­note re­marks, the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Federal Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment (FMARD), Mrs. Ibukun Odu­sote, rep­re­sented by the Act­ing Di­rec­tor of Fish­eries in the Min­istry, noted that the fish­eries sub-sec­tor, through the on-go­ing Agri­cul­tural Trans­for­ma­tion Agenda (ATA) of Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathanled ad­min­is­tra­tion, con­trib­utes im­mensely to the Nige­rian econ­omy.

Ac­cord­ing to her, the ob­jec­tive of the work­shop was to as­cer­tain the ex­is­tence, size and prac­ti­cal­ity of the shrimp fish­eries im­ple­men­ta­tion plans of each par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries.

In his pre­sen­ta­tion, the EAFNansen Project Co-co­or­di­na­tor Dr. Kwame Ko­ran­teng from Rome, Italy, stated that the project was sup­ported by the Nor­we­gian Agency for De­vel­op­ment Co-oper­a­tion that used to as­sist quite a num­ber of coun­tries in Africa.

The Pro­gramme Man­ager, ‘De­vel­op­ing World Fish­eries Pro­gramme’ of the Ma­rine Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil, United King­dom, Mrs. Oluyemisi Olorun­tuyi, said for the goal of the work­shop to be achieved, the shrimp prod­ucts from these coun­tries would have to be cer­ti­fied.

Olorun­tuyi said: “The idea of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is cen­tered on be­ing able to talk about your fish­eries in a way that in­di­cates its amount of sus­tain­abil­ity and this is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant around the world.”

Also, the Pres­i­dent of Nige­rian Trawler Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion Mr. Joseph Overo stated: “If the govern­ment can make avail­able se­cu­rity to safe­guard the wa­ters and, by so do­ing, mak­ing it pos­si­ble for us to fish, we would then have the in­cen­tive to con­tinue op­er­a­tions.”

Se­na­tor Em­manuel Bwacha

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