NIGERIA – The multilateral development finance institution, African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has announced it is targeting to increase aquaculture production in Africa by five million tonnes by 2025.

Through its Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme, the bank is looking to increase inland water fish to enable Africa become self-sufficient in fish production, the Guardian reports.

Apart from aquatic food, TAAT a flagship initiative of the AfDB under the ‘Feed Africa’ also prioritises production of cassava, wheat, rice, maize, orange-fleshed potatoes, beans, sorghum, millet, livestock among others.

To boost US$700m financing by the World Bank into its African Agricultural Transformation Programme, AfDB has announced US$120 million start-up money for the programme.

“TAAT was conceived to make sure that the Feed Africa is carried forward, to bring together a number of value chains to see how to transform agriculture across Africa.

“AfDB realised that there are a lot of technologies but they are either in shelves or in publications and Africa continues to import, spending more than 35 billion dollars just on food crops, most of which it can produce.

“AfDB took the lead in reviewing all available technologies to see how to transform agriculture in Africa,” said Dr Chrysantus Akem, the TAAT Programme Coordinator.

Additionally, Bill and Melinda Gates provided more than US$230m through Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to support the ten-year programme ending 2025.

Dr James Apochi, the National Project Coordinator, West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), said the programme had developed no fewer than 11 technologies that had increased fish production in the country.

“We want to upscale our technologies, introduce regional markets that will go beyond Nigeria,’’ he said.

Implementers of TAAT will include WorldFish, IITA, universities, seed companies and fish feed millers.

Nigeria’s annual national demand for fish stands at 3.5m tonnes, with 1.1m tonnes in total production and fisheries contribute about 4.5% to the Gross Domestic Product, according to Alhaji Muazu Mohammed, the Director of Fisheries, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.