The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it is ready to finance the fish sector to the next level. Mr Samson Alatise, from the Development Finance Department, said this at the ongoing Norwegian Seafood Council capacity training for fishery officers and stakeholders in Lagos.
He said that as far as the apex bank is concerned, it is keen on financing agriculture stating that fish is one of the focal activities that CBN concentrates on. “For now we have a ‘Fish Champion’, a committee, set up to finance fish farming in Nigeria.
“The problem we have with fish financing under our Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme is lack of a viable anchor to off-take the fish from the farmers.
“Lack of a viable anchor is limiting the CBN’s participation in terms of fish farming financing.
“We hope with this capacity building and training workshop, the issue of getting viable anchors will be addressed to boost the aquaculture sector,” Alatise said.
Also speaking at the training, the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Knut Leon, said the capacity building would boost the bilateral trade relations between Norway and Nigeria.
“Stockfish is an extremely important part of our bilateral relations, trade and history. For Nigerians, it is an important part of our food culture and a really important source of our culture.
“Today, we will move a step forward to bring capacity building and training to the Nigerian fish industry.
“We have brought a fantastic team from Norway to train fish farmers and stakeholders in the sector. We are confident that you will find their inputs valuable.
“Stockfish trade has created jobs in Nigeria. It is a win-win situation and we will continue to fight to remove the barriers on the path of this important trade.
“This cannot be a one-way thing, as we appeal to the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to do their part in the equation.
“There must be cooperation between the two nations to benefit all sides,” Leon said.
Mr. Trond Kostweit, the Director-General, Africa, Norwegian Seafood Council, said in order to grow the Nigerian fish sector, aquaculture must be a priority.
“I am very happy to be part of today’s capacity building and training, we have been talking about for a while and I am absolutely sure it will be valuable to the Nigerian fish industry.
“Norway is a seafood nation and we started exporting fish since 1800s, we have gathered a lot of experience from fishery and we are very proud of our production.
“In order to grow any fish industry, we must bank on fish farming to boost productivity. We want Nigeria to benefit from our experience and success in aquaculture.
“We have a lot of experience and technology to share at the training this week and we are sure it will benefit Nigeria as a country and the fish farming industry,” Trond said.
In his welcome address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mahmood Abubakar, commended the Norwegian Seafood Council for the initiative.
Abubakar, represented by Mr Imeh Umeh, the Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said the training would help to harness the huge potential in fishery and aquaculture.
“Efforts at harnessing the huge potential in fisheries and aquaculture will no doubt give an added impetus to the realisation of our shared objective of wealth creation.
“The huge gap between potential and productivity and the underutilisation of resources and opportunities in Nigeria need to be addressed urgently.
“The Federal Government will continue to partner with the Norwegian Seafood Council for the development and growth of fisheries and aquaculture in Nigeria.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this training will help to develop our fisheries officers/stakeholders on the best management practice accepted internationally,” Abubakar said.