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Cablegate: Niger Delta Youth Trained in Fish Farming

VZCZCXRO1426
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0474/01 3431408
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091408Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1105
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 0660
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000474

SIPDIS

COMMERCE FOR KBURRESS
TREASURY FOR DPETERS, RHALL, RABDULRAZAK
STATE PASS USTR FOR LISER, AGAMA
STATE PASS OPIC FOR ZHAN, MSTUCKART, JEDWARDS
STATE PASS TDA FOR EEBONG, DSHUSTER
STATE PASS EXIM FOR JRICHTER
STATE PASS USAID FOR NFREEMAN, GBERTOLIN
USDOC FOR 3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS
USDOJ FOR MARIE-FLORE KOUAME

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR EAID EFIS PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGER DELTA YOUTH TRAINED IN FISH FARMING

REF: A. 08 LAGOS 398
B. 09 LAGOS 95

------
SUMMARY
-------

1. Over 579 Niger Delta youth have been trained in catfish
and shrimp farming since the beginning of this year by the
Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research
(NIOMR). NIOMR has the capacity to train more youth and make
a major contribution to post-amnesty skill acquisition
training for former militants. The high demand for fish and
insufficient domestic production would create jobs for youths
and former militants in aquaculture. The training of these
youths and other stakeholders in fish farming would increase
domestic production and improve the living conditions of many
Nigerians, who rely on fish for their protein. Nigerian
researchers are seeking ways to genetically improve the
quality and yield of the African catfish, which is easy to
cultivate and high in protein. NIOMR has asked for
assistance in locating partner universities in the United
States. END SUMMARY

------------------------------
NIOMR TRAINS NIGER DELTA YOUTH
------------------------------

2. NIOMR has a mandate to provide vocational training in
fisheries and aquaculture to eight coastal states under its
jurisdiction. NIOMR established other training centers in
Aluu and Buguma in River State, Badore in Lagos State, and
Sapele in Delta State as the demand for its services
increased. NIOMR's principal catfish researcher Rahman
Oguntade said the institute, in collaboration with the Niger
Delta Development Commission (NNDC), has trained over 440
young people from the Delta in catfish farming techniques at
the Aluu training center alone since the beginning of this
year. NIOMR can make a substantive contribution in skills
acquisition for former militants.

3. Fish Technology and Biotechnology Department Head Dr.
Gbola Akande added that the NIOMR headquarters in Lagos has
also trained 139 unemployed Niger Delta youth on fish farming
under the GON's National Food Security Program (NFSP), which
aims to train 10,000 unemployed youth each year from all over
the country in different occupations. The NFSP training on
catfish at NIOMR runs for a period of six weeks. NIOMR
Executive Director Dr. Ayinla said the FG gives each student
a stipend of 10,000 naira ($70) every month for one year. He
explained that after the six weeks of training at NIOMR,
program graduates are sent to existing catfish farms in their
states of origin to improve their skills on catfish and
shrimp farming. The federal government provides a severance
loan at the end of one year to enable establishment of their
own farms.

----------------------------
AFRICAN CATFISH IS PREFERRED
----------------------------

4. About 50 percent of the animal protein intake in Nigeria
comes from fish, of which catfish is the preferred species.
The African catfish is easy to cultivate and high in protein
and other essential nutrients according to Oguntade. More
than 80 percent of farm-raised fish in Nigeria today are
catfish. Tilapia is also cultivated and sold in the local
market. Fish farming in Nigeria rose from 30,000 metric tons
(mt) in 2002 to 84,000 mt in 2007, according to Federal
Department of Fisheries (FDF) statistics.

5. The fishing industry provides direct employment to over a
million people, according to FDF statistics. The current
number of catfish farms is estimated at 10,000 in Lagos
alone, and over 120,000 nationwide, according to Africa
Farming Project National Coordinator Bright Okwo. A

LAGOS 00000474 002 OF 002


secondary market involving the smoking and sale of catfish is
growing and employs many women. Oguntade also estimated that
more than 5,000 new jobs could be generated from local
companies involved in fish feed production.

--------------------------------------------
NIGERIA IS AFRICA'S LARGEST IMPORTER OF FISH
--------------------------------------------

6. National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry,
Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) President Dr. Simon Okolo
said Nigeria's current fish demand is 2.1 million mt but the
average domestic fish production is 620,000 mt and fish
importation is about 740,000 mt, leaving a deficit of 1.3
million mt. This reportedly makes Nigeria the largest
importer of fish in Africa. The FDF statistics on fish
imports in 2007 was 739,666.12 mt, valued at US$ 594 million.


--------------------------------------
AQUACULTURE HAS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES
--------------------------------------

7. Artisanal fishing from local fishermen using canoes,
motorized and non-motorized boats constitutes 82 percent of
the total domestic fish production. Industrial fishing with
commercial vessels is at 4.2 percent while aquaculture,
farmed raised fisheries, accounts for 13.8 percent, according
to Dr. Akande. Nigeria's aquaculture has an annual capacity
of 2 million mt of fish, but currently produces 100,000 mt as
a result of stunted growth from poor brood stock selection,
Dr. Ayinla said. NIOMR is continuing its research on how to
improve the quality and yields of catfish in order to attain
the annual capacity. The NIOMR headquarters is constructing
a 50-bedroom hostel in anticipation of post-amnesty training
of Niger Delta youths on aquaculture and post-harvest
technologies.

8. NIOMR has asked for USG help in identifying universities
with which to partner on aquaculture research. The Mission
will follow up with NIOMR and help it reach out to possible
partner universities in the United States.

9. ConGen Lagos coordinated this telegram with Embassy Abuja.

BLAIR

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