Aid deal for fish farmers in Nigeria

Farmers harvesting catfish from an earthen pond in Nigeria’s Delta State

Nigeria’s beleaguered fish farming sector is set to receive a lifeline, thanks to an aid and co-investment package funded by US Aid and a non-governmental organisation, Partners For Development.

Fish farmers in the country have seen rising costs and falling prices for their product throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The aid package, a co-investment partnership between the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub and global organisation Partners for Development, will leverage $1.1m (£0.77m) of private funds in addition to a grant from the Trade Hub of $500,000 (just under £352,000) to build the industry’s resilience.

Key project goals include improving production, helping sales rebound, and increasing employment in the aquaculture sector, including for women and youth. While women currently make up an estimated 50% of overall producers in the Niger Delta, and youth about 20%, they both stand to gain from increased representation across the aquaculture value chain.

The co-investment partnership will strengthen the capacity of eight fish farmers associations and 600 fish farmers to enable them to use improved aquaculture and business management practices to increase their productivity by 25%.

The project also aims to boost the capacities of 15 hatcheries and 15 fish feed distributors that supply the farmers with fingerlings and fish feed, respectively. Through technical assistance, the hatcheries and fish feed distributors are expected to improve the quality of their inputs and increase production capacity by 25%.

John Marrkand, Executive Director, Partners for Development, said: “We are excited about this co-investment partnership. We are looking forward to not only strengthening the capacity of fish farmers, hatcheries, fish feed distributors, and key government officials, but to also providing loans to expand and improve the performance of those working in the aquaculture value chain.”