Nigeria: ATLAFCO urges Private Sector Role in Aquaculture Development

By Emeka Umejei Lagos,Nigeria – Aquaculture Development in African Countries Bordering the Atlantic Ocean (ATLAFCO) in its post Libreville recommendation says the aquaculture sector can only be developed when it is private sector driven. “The private sector should have the leading role in developing aquaculture, Aquaculture development can only occur if market driven and carried out by the private sector,” The conference report said.

“Government should not invest in fish fingerling or table fish productions as governments are ineffective at production activities. Let the private sector do this and limit government intervention to regulations and monitoring as well as some limited training.”
According to the conference report made available to participants, Government should encourage organisation of fish farmers into associations even as it noted that Aquaculture producers must be motivated to do this themselves to assure sustainability of such a group.

Stating further the conference report emphasised that Countries should streamline legal and administrative requirements to better attract investors.

The report further emphasised that all countries should  elaborate and apply a National Aquaculture Strategy. “Governments should publicize and apply the norms established in the Aquaculture Strategy,” The report stated.

“As mentioned above National Aquaculture Plans and Strategy must be easily accessible for all – also in a format which is easily understandable for all.” The report also emphasised that Governments should standardize registration of fish farms and hatcheries, and establish an Aquaculture Fund in a transparent manner to support aquaculture development.

However, it noted that such funds should be established in a transparent manner. Other recommendations include that Governments should encourage establishment of fish feed mills which are private sector driven.

The conference report which lauded  the seminar  held in Libreville from June 8-10 as resounding success, urged for replication of such exchange platforms in the future.  “With the recommendations of the seminar, participants left the meeting with enthusiasm to bring new energy to aquaculture development,” the report note.

“This has been especially needed in the countries, which have lagged behind their neighbours. Much infrastructure has been aggressively put in place in some member countries, such as, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, including modern fish hatcheries and feed mills with extruders for manufacture of floating fish feeds, plus feed distribution networks.” According to the report, another key element in aquaculture management lies in good pond construction and use of modern fish transport methods, which provide high survival of fingerlings and other fish being transported.

Concluding, the report acknowledged the fact that the outcome of the Libreville conference is worth it considering that countries have began to seek experts from other African countries. “Concrete outputs are coming about as a result of this meeting with exchange of technical information and cross border consultancies already being planned with private sector experts in the meeting already having firm invitations to travel to other countries to help develop aquaculture,” The report  note.

“Again this confirms the benefits of the seminar, which can only grow now that the some 100 participants from 25 African countries know each other and plan to follow up with regular exchanges.”