IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY AND PROFITABILITY OF SMALLHOLDER SHRIMP AQUACULTURE AND RELATED AGRIBUSINESS IN NIGERIA
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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Shrimp is the most important export product in fishery sector of most riverside countries of the world. Farming at each level can be profitable and sustainable, as long as biosecurity, productivity, environmental and social requirements are properly managed. To remain competitive and to protect export market access, governments and industry supply chains are increasingly recognizing the importance of international food safety standards, and of marketing and value-adding as effective competitive strategies (EJF, 2003). However, this study aims to improve productivity and profitability for ‘traditional’ and ‘traditional plus’ shrimp producers and associated supply chain micro-to-small enterprises (MSEs) by improving biosecurity and enabling compliance with product quality and food safety standards for export and premium domestic markets.
Agriculture continues to play an important role in Nigeria’s economic development as a contributor to food security and as a generator of income, employment and foreign exchange. Consequently, aquaculture is seen as having considerable potential for further expansion in response to growing domestic and export market demands.
Nigeria is among tropical countries endowed with rich shrimp resources. According to Dublin-Green and Tobor (1992), the coastal waters of Nigeria are characterized by abundance of important living resources including shrimps, predominantly members of the family penaeidae. With a production capacity of 12,000 metric tons (MT) per year, Nigeria’s shrimps supply is presently from capture fisheries.
Increasing human population and the soaring per capita demand for shrimp has created a demand-supply gap. To augment for capture fisheries underproduction, shrimp farms have been established mostly in Asia and Latin America since the 1970s. The shrimp farming industry keeps expanding to hitherto non-practicing areas, despite its heuristic unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly track records.
Africa has been identified as a potential new frontier for the expansion of shrimp farming. Three biologically-rich and culturally important large river deltas are among the areas that have been targeted for this new aquaculture development: the Niger Delta, the Tana Delta and the Rufiji Delta (EJF 2004).
In Nigeria, oil corporations like the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, have indicated interest in investing in shrimp culture in the Niger Delta (Business Day 2004). Indigenous fisheries professionals have also thrown their weights behind shrimp farming investment in Nigeria (Sogbesan et al 2004), and most recently, Sulalanka, a Sri Lanka consortium secured the approval of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the FAO to commence inland culture of marine black tiger shrimp (This day 2008). Research institutions like the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) consider investing in shrimp farming a top priority (The Guardian 2008). The diversity of these shrimp farming proponents notwithstanding, their objective is shared: to boost Nigeria’s foreign exchange earning though shrimp export.
What is never mentioned by the prospective shrimp farmers include the human rights abuses, deepening poverty in coastal communities, environmental damages, etc, associated with shrimp farming. These attendant problems will be the fate of Nigeria if sound policy framework and locally compatible method of farming are not adopted.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The culture of shrimp in Nigeria is still at different experimental stages consigned to research institutions. The production of young prawn species under controlled condition was attempted in Nigeria without success (FAO 1980). Even though fin fish culture was also at an infancy stage in Nigeria as at the 1980s, it seems the unprecedented failure to farm shrimp by the FAO somehow discouraged local aquaculturists from further coordinated, goal-oriented shrimp culture trials and investments vis-à-vis fish culture; thus the development of indigenous shrimp culture techniques stagnated and remain so till 2004 (Business Day 2004). From then (that is, 2004) renewed momentum began with unilateral plan to importing Asian-bred culture approaches. However, unpublicized shrimp culture trial projects may have been undertaken by research institutions with little or no successes during this latency years. However, this study is examining ways to improve productivity and profitability of smallholder shrimp aquaculture in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the ways to improve productivity and profitability of smallholder shrimp aquaculture in Nigeria.
- To examine the level of practice of shrimp aquaculture in Nigeria.
- To identify the limitations in the development of shrimp aquaculture by Nigeria farmers.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the ways to improve productivity and profitability of smallholder shrimp aquaculture in Nigeria?
- What is the level of practice of shrimp aquaculture in Nigeria?
- What are the limitations in the development of shrimp aquaculture by Nigeria farmers?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- Findings from this study will educate the fish farmers and the general public on the ways to improve productivity and profitability of smallholder shrimp aquaculture in Nigeria.
- This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the level of practice of shrimp aquaculture by Nigeria fish farmers considering the ways to improve productivity and profitability in the face of several limitations.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.