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Nigeria loses N97 billion in forex yearly to fish importation

THE Federal Government may in the next fiscal year,  add fish products to the import prohibition list, as the country was said to have recorded yearly loss of N97 billion in foreign exchange to fish products’ importation.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, gave the hint on the planned ban of foreign fish products, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State’s capital, Tuesday.

The minister, who spoke through the Minister of State for Agriculture, Alhaji Bukar Tijani, said the expected ban will be effected when the transformation agenda aimed at restoring the lost glory of agriculture as leading sector of the economy comes into force.

Tijani, who made the disclosure at the opening session of the 27th yearly conference and Biennial General Meeting tagged “Bayelsa 2012”, said the new agenda of the Federal Government was set to create the increase in the supply of raw materials for agro industries, create employment, conserve foreign exchange through import substitution, local consumption and national food security.

According to him, the Federal Government has approved the distribution of N17.6 billion among flood devastated states, in order to prevent the anticipated food crisis next year.

“We can assure the people that there would not be food crisis, as another N9.7 billion initiatives for food production have been put in place,” he said.

The President of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), Dr. Abbas Abdullahi, commended the Federal Government for the new policy directive on aquaculture.

Earlier in his keynote address, titled “The role of Fisheries in the National Agriculture plan of the Transformation Agenda’, Dr. A.O. Ayinla, noted with concern the drastic drop in fish production in the country due to mass importation of the item and high level of piracy along the country’s territorial waters.

He said although the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan was trying to adopt a new approach of aquaculture production to meet up with the required 1.2 billion fingerlings and establishment of fish farms in the 774 Local Government Councils of the country, the issue of importation of fishery products was destroying the local economy.

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