The Federal Government has decried a whopping $984million spent on importation of fish annually.
It urged farmers, youths and women to take to fish farming and help in boosting domestic production of the product, to grow the economy.
To realise this, the lawmaker representing Oyo North, Senator Fatai Buhari, in conjunction with the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), Lagos, has trained over 100 youths and women selected from Ogbomoso North and South local governments as well as Oriire and Olorunsogo local governments during a week-long training in Aquaculture Production and Fish Post Harvest Technology.
The empowerment, Senator Buhari said, was aimed at giving the beneficiaries means of livelihood.
The lawmaker recalled that during his recent empowerment programme, he distributed 36 cars, 300 motorcycles, 300 sewing machines, over 400 grinding machines, 40 deep freezers, generators, 13 transformers among others to the people of Oyo North.
Buhari, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Cybercrime, gave N20,000 each as bursaries to 200 students of tertiary institutions and N25,000 each to 200 widows.
NIOMR Director Dr. Gbola Akande, who was represented by Dr. Oludare Adeogun, listed the socio-economic benefits of Aquaculture.
He said it was a money spinning investment that could change their fortunes for good, if well practised.
According to him, the demand for fish in Nigeria is about 2.66 million tonnes annually, whereas total domestic production hovers around 0.7 million tonnes.
Akande said: “There is a deficit of 1.96 million tonnes partly augmented by importation of fish of about 1.01 million tonnes worth over US $984 million annually – a huge waste on scarce foreign exchange, hence the urgent need to increase domestic fish production.”