Aquaculture: potential still largely untapped

Aquaculture remains an integral part of Nigeria’s agriculture sector, with annual fish demand estimated at 3.3 million metric tons (mmt). Over the past three years, domestic fish supply has risen to 1.2mmt. We attribute the pick-up to increased government intervention. Meanwhile, industry sources suggest that the annual fish import bill currently stands at US$800m. Based on the national accounts for Q2 2018, fisheries contracted by -1.3% y/y, compared with a growth of 4.2% recorded in the previous quarter. Fisheries accounted for 2.1% of total agricultural GDP in Q2.


  • We note that Nigeria’s per capita fish consumption is 13kg, significantly lower than the global average of 21kg.

  • Data from the CBN show that artisanal production accounted for around 76.7% of the 1.06 million tonnes of fish produced in 2017. Meanwhile, industrial (trawling) fish farming accounted for only 7% of the total, indicating that commercial fisheries segment is still largely untapped.

  • The harsh business environment has slowed fishing activity; the cost of trawling has more than doubled over the past few years due to high operational costs.


GDP, fisheries and agric growth (% chg y/y)

Sources: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); FBNQuest Capital Research

  • The fisheries segment continues to suffer from poor access to credit. According to credit extension data for Q2 2018 released by the NBS, agriculture received just 3.5% of total credit allocation.

  • Fisheries would benefit from increased financial intervention schemes. The CBN has set up a few of these to support the sector and compensate for the poor supply from the banks but these have had modest impact on the segment.

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