Even though agriculture still remains the largest sector of the Nigerian economy and employs two-thirds of the entire labor force, the production hurdles have significantly stifled the performance of the sector. Over the past 20 years, value-added per capita in agriculture has risen by less than 1 percent annually. It is estimated that Nigeria has lost USD 10 billion in annual export opportunity from groundnut, palm oil, cocoa and cotton alone due to continuous decline in the production of those commodities. Food (crop) production increases have not kept pace with population growth, resulting in rising food imports and declining levels of national food self-sufficiency (FMARD, 2008).
The Nigeria fisheries sub sector contributes about 3-4 percent to the country’s annual GDP and is an important contributor to the population’s nutritional requirements, constituting about 50 percent of animal protein intake. In addition, the sub-sector generates employment and income for a significant number of artisanal fishermen and small traders. Although capture fisheries has now been declining, Nigeria has a big potential in both marine and fresh water fisheries including aquaculture.
In spite of this high potential, domestic fish production still falls far below the total demand, which was estimated at 2.2 million metric tons per year in 2008.
As a result, the country imports about 60 percent of the fish consumed. To reduce the level of fish imports, aquaculture has been selected as one of the priority value chains targeted for development in the country.
Although Nigeria is considered a “food-producing” nation, producing certain quantities of calories to adequately feed every one of its citizens, the reality is that one in four people currently suffers from hunger on a regular basis and more than half of the population live in such precarious circumstances that they are at risk of going hungry.
As one of Nation’s largest agro-allied company, we believe we have a responsibility to positively and significantly impact food security in this country. We continue to strive to find new ways to strengthen the nutritional profile of our products while maintaining the great value our customers expect from our products. As a company we seek to collaborate with partners so as to leverage resources and expertise to help ensure enduring impact and long-term sustainability for all our projects.