The agriculture sector continues to play an important role in Nigeria’s economy, and is a key part of the government’s plans to attain sustainable economic growth. Within the sector, the fisheries segment delivered a growth rate of 5.9% y/y in 2015. However, in Q2 2016 it contracted for the first time in over five years. This is not surprising given that the country’s macroeconomic challenges resulted in a general slowdown across all sectors. The latest GDP figures (Q4 2016) show that fisheries has recovered: it grew by 0.8% y/y.
Data from CBN show that artisanal production accounted for around 76.8% of the 1.04 million tonnes of fish produced in 2015. Meanwhile, industrial (trawling) fish farming accounted for only 8% of the total, indicating that commercial fisheries is still largely untapped.
More recent data from the ministry of agriculture and rural development reveal that annual national supply has increased to 1.1 million metric tonnes (mmt) from 800 metric tonnes. The supply gap has reduced slightly to 1.0 mmt.
Based on our estimates, Nigeria’s annual fish import bill has now declined by 42%. We attribute the boost in annual fish production to the progress made as a result of the FGN’s import substitution policy.
GDP, fisheries and agric growth (% chg y/y).
Sources: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); FBNQuest Research
To assist with improving fish farming activities, the CBN provided a N2bn long term facility under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme to Triton Aqua (an Indian aquaculture firm operating in Nigeria). We understand that Triton Aqua has partnered with a few state governments to provide the necessary technology that would encourage aquaculture.
The forward steps towards self-sufficiency in fisheries are laudable. However, structural issues such as power shortages, poor access to finance and challenges with logistics amongst others still exist.