Stakeholders in the aquaculture sector have raised alarm of a looming food crisis, unless sound and decisive measures are taken to sustain food supply chains and to protect the poor and vulnerable communities. They noted with dismay that COVID-19 has affected the entire value chain in the industry from pre-production, production, processing, storage, transportation, to marketing, leading to huge financial losses.
At a Webinar organised by the West Africa Region of the World Aquaculture Society, African Chapter, with 68 participants from different countries, it was estimated that the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic could plunge more than half a billion people into poverty, with communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East expected to suffer the most.
The first Federal Director, Fisheries Quarantine in Nigeria, Deaconess Foluke O. Areola, in her paper titled: ‘Challenges and Prospects of Covid-19 to Aquaculture Industry: A Contemporary Issue’, revealed that economic activities have slowed down generally, as many farmers have large volumes of unsold stocks, due to market restrictions, purchasing power and decrease in income generation. She said: “In general, the Best Available Practices (BAPs) in growing structure (ponds, tanks, raceways, etc.) has best-described aquaculture as water management, which includes, periodic monitoring of water parameters at least twice daily, in the mornings and evenings. Other practices are maintaining constant regular feeding to ensure the optimal growth curve is attained.” Guardian