Saving the Shrimp Market – Latest Nigerian News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics
In the 1980s, shrimp was a multi-million dollar industry in Nigeria. The industry is now facing enormous challenges. But, plans are underway to revive the once thriving industry to allow Nigeria to take a share of the growing shrimp market, DANIEL ESSIET reports.
The global shrimp market is expected to exceed $ 24 billion by 2026. According to Research And Markets.com, the growing income level and growing demand for shrimp products across the world is driving the market.
Therefore, governments encourage shrimp production by providing incentives and tax breaks to farmers. Although Nigeria’s aquaculture sector is growing, the shrimp sub-sector has experienced a worrying slowdown over the past five years – a trend that must be reversed.
For analysts, this has not been good for the industry. The main limiting factors included increasing competition from foreign fishing vessels and difficulty accessing affordable loans for aquaculture projects.
There has also been the perception that the shrimp trade is technically complex and capital intensive and that there is no appropriate legislation to ensure the sustained growth of the sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated the poor state of the industry with the restrictive measures that have been introduced to contain the spread of the virus. The result was of great concern for the future of the sector and its potential contribution to food security and nutrition.
In 2019, Nigeria imported $ 1.15 billion worth of seafood, according to the US Department of Commerce.
In addition, the country’s average annual production of shrimp and shrimp is set at 12,000 metric tons (MT).
Lagos Agriculture Commissioner Abisola Olusanya said the state’s annual demand for fish is 374,000 tonnes, lower than the state’s 155,000 tonnes of production.
The supply deficit, she said, offers the state a valuable investment opportunity.
With support, she said, the sector could generate more export revenue than the N25 billion (£ 49 billion) from the export of shrimp and smoked fish in 2019.
To promote the growth of the shrimp industry, trawl fishing plays an important role.
Currently, the trawling sub-sector provides livelihoods and food for millions of people in coastal communities as well as food for the region’s growing aquaculture sector.
Since the industry is already well established, she continued that the Lagos government is keen to work with operators to implement various measures to support trawl fishing to participate in deep water shrimp harvesting.
In fact, support will be provided to investors to increase the number of trawlers working around the coastal waters of Lagos.
This, according to the Agriculture Commissioner, will have a major impact on the increase in industrial shrimp trawling.
She reaffirmed that there was great potential to be tapped, through the application of science, technology, innovation, as well as through improved policy frameworks.
She said the state government, in partnership with a private investor, would establish the Lagos Aquaculture Center of Excellence (LACE) to boost fish production.
She said the center will have a hatchery with a capacity of 50 million fish – enough to supply 5,000 small farms. It will also include a 24,000-tonne feed mill and a 20,000-tonne fish processing center.
At present, stakeholders have expressed concerns that Nigerian waters are still the least monitored.
Nigeria loses a colossal $ 2.3 billion a year from the activities of poachers on the high seas, due to the country’s inability to control its waters, according to the Institute of Oceanograpy and Marine Research.
Like other sub-sectors of the industry, illegal shrimp fishing harms livelihoods and the food supply.
Fishing expert Prof. Martins Antekhai and local shrimp producers are counting on government support to support the industry’s growth.
Currently, most of the local operators are small and medium-sized players.