The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has said the development of the country's aquaculture sub-sector remained critical to food security as well as the diversification programme of the current administration.
He said the federal government is currently embarking on a strategic drive towards increasing domestic fish production to reduce importation into the country.
Speaking during the, "National Dialogue on Transformation and Future of Aquatic Food Systems in Nigeria", the minister added that the development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector is highly critical to meeting the government's food security objectives.
He said the important role of fish in food and nutrition security cannot be over-emphasised, being a good source of protein for human diet containing essential amino acids required in the right quantities but usually lacking in most national staple foods.
Therefore, he said fish remained a valuable nutritional supplement and a virile candidate for addressing food and nutrition security in the country.
Nanono, however lamented that despite the potential impacts of the fisheries and aquaculture resources, the sector is confronted with numerous challenges including high cost of inputs, use of unimproved breeds in aquaculture, need for improved access to finance among others.
He said the objective of the dialogue was to deepen understanding of the numerous challenges as well as proffer noteworthy recommendations that would leverage aquatic food systems capacity to contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the within the coming years.
The minister said the ministry was pursuing a holistic approach to the development of fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector and willing to engage and partner with all stakeholders for the development of the sector for economic development, wealth and job creation as well as food and nutrition security.
He said: "Permit me to note that the vision of Mr. President is to grow Nigeria's agricultural sector to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria through agriculture that drives income growth, accelerates achievements of food and nutritional security, generates employment and transforms Nigeria into a leading player in global food/fish market to create wealth for millions of practitioners."