Nigeria’s internal fish production is not enough to meet its 2.7 million tons demand annually, with a current deficit of 1.9million metric tons recorded.
Aquaculture is an area where Nigeria is heavily reliant on imports due to multiple factors ranging from insecurity in the northeast, access to food, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, to the absence of government’s input, amongst others.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed that over 13million Nigerian children are affected by chronic malnutrition, according to The Guardian 59million Nigerians are macronutrient deficient and about 45% of deaths among children under the age of 5 are linked to malnutrition.
Confidence MacHarry Analyst at SBM Intelligence, revealed to Nairametrics the current state of Nigeria’s fish production and what needs to be done from a regulatory point of view to improve Nigeria’s protein diet through fishing.
What is the current state of Nigeria’s local fish production and demand for fish?
Nigeria’s current fish production stands at 0.8million metric tons with a deficit of 1.9 million metrics tons of fish, as local demand for the protein is 2.7 million tons annually. $1.2 billion worth of fish is being imported annually into the country, according to the CBN.
What has been the impact of increasing insecurity to local production to the North East?
Contrary to what many people think, the local fish economy is mostly from the North East and North West. When the Boko Haram insurgency began and the military high command banned fishing activities in the region and around Lake Chad, we didn’t really feel the impact because the situation in the North West was not out of control at the time.
What can be expected to supply with the environmental impact of fishing in the Niger Delta?
With the insecurity that has befallen both regions and the coastal areas suffering from oil spills, it’s really dark days ahead. Despite the resumption of fishing activities in the North East, the region is still jointly controlled by the Islamic State and the rogue elements from the Nigeria Army. Nigeria’s internal fish production is so little that with the rise of insecurity and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta, not much has been felt by the market. However, Nigeria will need alternative sources of protein if the insecurity persists in 2021.
What steps can be taken to boost fish production in the North East and drive prices down?
The Military needs to stop acting as a barrier to the fish farmers looking for permits to farm in the Lake Chad region, and they should up the fight to drive terrorists from the area to boost fishing activities in the area. On this issue, if they are serious, they’d get the military in these areas to stop destroying fish baskets on their way to the market, because they didn’t get ‘permit’ from soldiers. They’d also clear the Lake from ISWAP, which places a heavy tax duty on farmers, thus making fish prices to go up. Getting a food grant from the UN is one thing, putting your house in order to get the best of the grant and your local economy is another.
Are the security forces doing enough to assure the safety of stakeholders in fish production while they go about their businesses?
The insurgency persisted this long because of the absence of political will to see the war to its end. For 8 consecutive years, the defense ministry has had the largest share of national budgets and each time, towards the end of the year, the military and the insurgents settle for a stalemate. It tells you all you need to know. If the facilities are nonexistent, PMC’s and MERCS should be brought in. The question is, would they be allowed to finish the job?
Should the idea of regional fish production be explored as a way to boost supply?
With a deficit of 1.9 million metric tons, no region in Nigeria has the present facilities to lead production across the nation. Only two regions are not involved in significant fish production – north central and southeast. Despite 4 regions being involved, not one can claim a monopoly. I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but with recent events, your guess is as good as mine.
How do you propose Nigeria tackles the issue of piracy and increasing insecurity to maximize production capacity?
Nigeria needs to work on a joint coalition to deal with the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea. This brings us back to question of insecurity. I’d have advocated for economic cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea by countries bordering it to encourage large scale fishing activities, but piracy. To tackle the menace of piracy, the Deep Blue Project must be effectively launched. Not just rhetoric, launch it and let it be operational. Also, like the MNJTF, there should be an international coalition of the Gulf countries to tackle piracy collectively. Nigeria should adopt the “subsistence agriculture” method of fish farming and approach fish farming from a scale higher to mechanized fishing, with the use of modern technology to maximize impact.
An overview of the existing challenges in moving from small scale fishing to ocean fishing
One problem affecting Nigeria’s internal fish production is the fact Nigeria is not maximizing its access to the Atlantic Ocean. Data from some of the biggest seafood companies including MOWI ASA, with revenue of € 4.1 billion in 2019; Maruha Nichiro, over $8 billion 2019; Thai Union Group, $4.1 billion; Trident Seafoods, $2.6 billion in 2019; revealed one common thing – the location of the shipping/ fishing operations and aquaculture farms are mostly situated close to the oceans.
Nigeria’s access to this scale of fishing operations is largely affected by piracy. International Maritime Bureau (IMB) figures show a rise in piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas in the first nine months of 2020, with a 40% increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea.
In October, in its Global Piracy Reports, the IMB detailed 132 attacks since the start of 2020, up from 119 incidents in the same period last year. Of the 85 seafarers kidnapped from their vessels and held for ransom, 80 were taken in the Gulf of Guinea – in 14 attacks reported off Nigeria, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana.
On 17 July 2020, eight pirates armed with machine guns boarded a product tanker underway around 196 nautical miles southwest of Bayelsa, Nigeria. They held all 19 crew members hostage, stole ship’s documents and valuable items, and escaped with 13 kidnapped crew members. The tanker was left drifting with limited and unqualified navigational and engine crew onboard. A nearby merchant vessel later helped the tanker to sail to a safe port. Regional Authorities were notified and the 13 kidnapped crewmembers were released safely one month later.
On December 20, Maersk was attacked off the West African coast. Bloomberg reported that the Maersk Cadiz was boarded by ‘criminals’ on Saturday at about 2:30pm Nigerian time while traveling from Tema in Ghana to Kribi in Cameroon. Nigerian naval ships have arrived to help the vessel, which can transport the equivalent of as many as 4,500 twenty-foot containers.
Despite a global decline in piracy in 2019, attacks have continued in the Gulf of Guinea this year, especially off Nigeria’s coast. These piracy activities have heavily impacted Nigeria’s abilities to maximize access to the ocean for seafood production and farming.
The Nigeria local fishing hubs have been heavily impacted by insecurity in the northeast and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta.
Also, Nigeria does not have a policy geared at taking advantage of Nigeria’s ocean waters for seafood fishing and aquatic farming like the global seafood companies do.
Hence, Nigeria will remain very dependent on fish imports for a long time if the issue of piracy at the Gulf of Guinea is not solved.
FG outlines steps to be taken by businesses to export to AfCFTA countries
FG has outline steps to be taken by Nigerian businesses to export to other member-countries of the AfCFTA.
The Federal Government has outlined steps to be taken by Nigerian businesses to export to other African countries that are part of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
This follows the take-off of the trade agreement, which is reputed to be one of the largest globally, on January 1, 2021, with 54 African countries signed on to it.
This disclosure is contained in a public statement issued by the Nigerian Office For Trade Negotiations (NOTN) and signed by its Acting Director-General/Chief Trade Negotiator, Victor Liman.
The guide by NOTN is to assist Nigerian exporters who want to take advantage of AfCFTA.
Steps to be taken by exporters
- Exporter or agent must secure all necessary licenses, permits, certificates and necessary documents from relevant agencies like Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) and others.
- Ensure that the product qualifies for export under AfCFTA.
- Next, create a bill of entry, attach all relevant permits from government agencies and secure reservation with shipping or airline company. Apply for Nigeria Customs Service AfCFTA Certificate of Origin after paying a fee.
- The Nigerian Customs Service is the issuer of the certificate, however, NACCIMA must vet the application.
- Also, other accompanying documents required for shipment under AfCFTA should be included like Certificate of origin, Nigerian Customs Bill of Entry, Bill of Lading, Packing list, and Certificate of Analysis.
Finally, compulsory AfCFTA trading documents are
- Supplier/Producer’s declaration form.
- Origin of declaration form.
- AfCFTA Certificate of origin.
What you should know
- The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement which took off in January 1, 2021, is expected to create the world’s largest free trade area measured by the number of countries participating.
- The pact which connects about 1.3 billion people across 54 countries with a gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion, has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty. However, achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.
- The scope of AfCFTA is large as the agreement will reduce tariffs among member countries and cover policy areas such as trade facilitation and services, as well as regulatory measures such as sanitary standards and technical barriers to trade. Full implementation of AfCFTA would reshape markets and economies across the region and boost output in the services, manufacturing and natural resources sectors.
AfCFTA: Nigerian Commodities Exchange prepared for agreement – MD
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Commodities Exchange has stated that the agency is fully prepared to take advantage of the AfCFTA.
The Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) is well-positioned to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), through the implementations of several measures to ensure smooth export operations of Nigerian Commodities.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director of the Commodities Exchange, Mrs. Zaheera Baba-Ari, in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.
- “The establishment of the continental trade bloc will be beneficial to African countries if properly managed.”
She added that the NCX had an established network of 20 warehouses across major production areas in the six geo-political zones of the country for efficient receipt and storage of agro-commodities to be traded on the exchange.
The warehouses, located in Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Bauchi, Sokoto, Plateau, Ebonyi, Ekiti and Kogi, have a combined capacity to store 50 trillion tonnes of goods. She added that warehouses in Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Jigawa, Edo, Cross River and Ondo States would be ready within the year.
The NCX boss said that AfCFTA would help Africa fight challenges that were caused by the pandemic in the continent’s economies through trade.
- “The NCX has acquired robust Trading Application System for seamless buying and selling of commodity to ensure market integrity, price transparency and the facilitation of cross border trades.
- “It has also acquired a Warehouse Management System that assures an efficient management of warehouse inventories. We have perfected Memorandum of Understanding with relevant foreign and Nigerian Commodity Associations like the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange and the Export Merchants Association of Sudan to trade in selected agro-commodities.”
She added that the NCX has also launched Quality Assurance Laboratories in each of the delivery warehouses, stating that the labs would be used for testing the quality of commodities such as paddy rice, cocoa, sesame seed, soya beans, maize, sorghum and cashew nuts that would be traded on the exchange.
The NCX Chief said the labs were certified to ISO22000 certification which combines ISO 9001 with Food Safety Management and Hazard Analysis, including Critical Control Point System (HACCP).
- “The HACCP identifies specific hazards and proffers measures for the control of identified impurities in the food processing sector. The issue of tariff on agro-commodity exports from Nigeria should be addressed to increase efficiency of trade flows.
- “There is also the need for Nigeria to improve its position on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking from its current 131st rung of the ladder.”
What you should know
- Nigeria was the 34th African country to fully ratify and submit its Instrument of Ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
- Mr. Bismarck Rewane, Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited said that the African Continental Free Trade Area would create the desired impetus to stimulate the economic growth of Nigeria in 2021.
- Customs officials in the continent agreed to draft continental guidelines to enable the movement of goods, services and people for the agreement.
Reps oppose school resumption date, ask for 3 months extension
The lower legislative chamber has flawed FG’s directive on public and private schools’ January 18, 2021 resumption date.
The House of Representatives has moved against the Federal Government’s directive that schools should resume on Monday, January 18, despite the rising cases of the coronavirus disease.
The lower house, while expressing its concern, wondered why schools were closed when the infection rates were around 500 and below, but now that it hovers well above 1000 infections daily, schools are being reopened.
This disclosure is contained in a statement titled, “School Resumption: Are We Truly Prepared?” which was issued by the Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, on Saturday, January 16, 2021.
Ihonvbere in his statement said that public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped, as merely saying that protocol would be adhered to is no guarantee with the situation even being worse in rural areas.
The house, therefore, demanded for the postponement of resumption of schools by 3 months, if some critical steps are not taken, so as to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately.
He said that apart from Lagos and a couple of other states, governments have been unable to enforce Covid-19 protocols with people no longer wearing facemasks or use sanitisers, especially in secondary schools. There are no facilities for effective social distancing in the classrooms.
Ihonvbere said they have not heard how the schools would address the issues of introduction of morning and afternoon batches into the schools when they reopen to reduce overcrowding, special cleaning crews with sufficient sanitisers in classrooms, insisting on facemasks and sanitisers for the students and others.
What Prof. Ihonvbere is saying
The statement from the House partly reads,
- “The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives, has received with concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools on January 18, 2021.
- “We are particularly concerned that when the infection rates hovered around 500 and under, schools were closed; but now that it hovers well above 1,000 infections daily, schools are being reopened. Why are we rushing to reopen schools without adequate verifiable and sustainable arrangements to protect and secure our children?
- “Similarly, we acknowledge the argument that most young persons have not been as affected by Covid-19 and many are asymptomatic. Yet, it does not mean they have full immunity against the virus. We also know that they would be working and interacting with adult teachers, administrative workers and other persons that do not live within the institutions.
- ‘’People no longer wear facemasks or use sanitisers. Public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped. Merely saying they would adhere to the protocols is no guarantee. In rural areas, the situation is worse.
- “Our position is that in spite of the very comprehensive protocols established by the Federal Ministry of Education, not up to 10 per cent of our educational institutions have implemented five per cent of the protocols. In most of our primary and secondary schools nationwide, adequate furniture, water and other sanitation and hygiene facilities do not exist.
- “As a government that has committed to protecting the interests of the Nigerian people, it would be wrong to allow unprepared state governments, of which many did not take the pandemic too seriously anyway, to hoodwink or pressure it into this reopening game.
- “The Committee believes that if these and other critical steps are not taken, there should be a postponement by three months to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.’’
What you should know
- The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, a few days ago, insisted on the January 18 resumption date for schools until the Federal Ministry of Education advises otherwise.
- The clarification became necessary following the earlier comment by the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, that government may review the resumption date following the outbreak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic across the country.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON BASIC EDUCATION AND SERVICES, ABUJA.
SCHOOL RESUMPTION: ARE WE TRULY PREPARED?
The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives has received with some concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools pic.twitter.com/wehOd7QoXG
— Hon. Prof. Julius Ihonvbere,OON (@HonIhonvbere) January 16, 2021