Fish and seafood importation into the country in the next ten years is projected to gulp $2.59 million which is equivalent to N1.29 billion using average $500/naira as the exchange rate. MSMEsToday can authoritatively report. This is based on our analysis of the statistical data provided by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Food and Agriculture.
MSMEsToday had earlier reported that while government spends N50billion annually on fish and seafood importation, fish and seafood consumption is projected to increase by 13.69% in the next ten years. Based on increased consumption level, the importation of fish and seafood into the country is projected to increase by 26.67% in the next ten years from 555 tons in 2019 to 703 tons in 2029. Using an average of $500/naira, this is equivalent to a growth of 54.17% in monetary terms from $1.68 million in 2019 to $2.59 million in 2029.
Experts have attributed expected growth in fish and seafood importation to projected increase of about 13.69% in consumption, which cannot be met by equivalent production. According to the United Nation Agricultural Outlook, fish and seafood consumption is to increase from 1.7Mt in 2019 to 1.9Mt in 2029 when compared with production, there is a gap of 549 tons between fish and seafood consumption and production in 2019 and the gap is expected to increase further in the coming years by 55.19% to 697 tons in 2029.
Many Nigerian today consume fish because it does not contain bad cholesterol found in meat and is strongly recommended by doctors all over the world. It contains several minerals necessary for healthy living. Fish is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin) among others. According to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) consumption expenditure pattern survey, households spent a total N1.33trillion on fish and seafood in 2019 and this is expected to grow by more than 100% to N2.66 trillion in 2029.
The gap between fish and seafood demand and supply has been bridged by importation over the years. However, experts believe that instead of bridging the gap between fish and seafood demand and supply through importation, MSMEs should be encouraged and empowered to invest in fish and seafood farming in other to close the gap in the coming years.
Fish farming has contributed significantly to food security, income generation, trades, employment opportunities, improved living standards and aid to foreign exchange earnings. As a result, the production of fish is becoming a more complex enterprise as farmers whether literate or illiterate find means of enhancing fish production because of the supply-demand gap for fish and seafood in Nigeria.