FORMER Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Agriculture Sector Chairman Prince Wale Oyekoya has called on the government to tighten the noose on frozen fish smuggling.
Oyekoya, managing director, BamaFarms, who spoke in Lagos, while adressing a food and agriculture writers forum, said smugglers bring in frozen fish, such as tilapia and croaker through the country’s land borders, stating that the circulation of unhealthy fish and fishery products into the market, has resulted in grave health implications, such as kidney disease and cancer.
To check their activities, he urged the government to strengthen the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Marine Police, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Agriculture Quarantine Service to increase surveillance
He said some of the fish smuggled from China have chemicals that are harmful to health, adding that consumers of such imported products, which are cheaper than the local ones from farms, lakes and rivers, risk untold health consequences.
Oyekoya said economic revival lay in the restructuring and revamping of the agricultural system.
His words: “In my view, one of the most serious problems of food and agriculture in Nigeria is leadership, policy summersault mismanagement, embezzlement and corruption of public funds that are very common within government officials.”
Oyekoya called for increased efforts to support agriculture, rural development, poverty reduction, asking for the country’s facilitation of an enabling environment for investors.
He said: “Nigeria’s agricultural commodities and food import bill have on the average over N1 trillion in the past years.
These huge amounts was expended on items that the country has the potential to produce locally. For instance, the import bill of rice and wheat was estimated at N428billion and N307billion in 2017 and 2018, which has continually depleted our foreign reserves.”
Source: The Nation