Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition (Forum FSN)

Profil des membres

Foluke Omotayo Areola, a seasoned fishery professional, consultant, administrator and facilitator is the first Federal  Director of Fisheries Quarantine in Nigeria as well as first female Acting Federal Director of Fisheries & Aquaculture,    and Fisheries. She is currently the President-Elect of the African Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS-AC).

She is  a distinguished fellow of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), and the first female National President. For the past 40 years, she has provided technical guidance in fisheries, research and development. She has participated in high level national, regional and continental initiatives, including as facilitator of the Agriculture and Food Security Policy Commission of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG). She is passionate about local and global economic development and growth.

Ce membre a contribué à/au:

    • Dear FSN- Moderator,

      God bless. Please find attached my contributions to the ongoing consultation on the 10th anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) .

      Thank you.

      Best regards,

      Foluke O. Areola,


      Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,


    • Dear All,

      God bless. Please find attached my contributions .

      Best regards,

      Foluke O. Areola, Director(Rtd),

      Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria.

      1. How can FAO and CSOs work together to regain the momentum lost and work jointly to "leave no one behind”?
      1. To improve on the success of SDGs in reducing socio- economic inequality within and between countries, the FAO and CSOs must establish a line of coordination. This must take into consideration the quality of expertise being brought to fore by the CSOs and respect such and the opinions expressed. There is also the need to rebuild mutual trust and respect between FAO and the CSOs. 
      2. There is a need to gather relevant information and data on CSOs within a country and periodically review the capacities and capabilities to carry out activities that enhance the success of SDGs in reducing socio-economic inequality within countries. FAO, within the context of the SDGs, must have indices to measure performances for comparison between countries. A network of CSOs in countries within a region can also be established.
      3. There must be some levels of flexibility in partnering together that recognizes local and country's peculiarities. The opinion of experts in an organization should be considered along the wealth of experience of local stakeholders in achieving the expected outcomes. This affects transparency in the process and working to a prepared answer.
      4. There is the need for multi-dimensional and transdisciplinary approach in arriving at the interventions being proposed. These should be social, economic, technological, and ecological interventions.
      5. The major issue in achieving the plans is to have reliable data to develop meaningful plans
      6. There must be transparency in the partnership that would ensure the needs of the target groups are met.
      7. They must especially focus efforts more at those “who must not be left behind”-countries and individuals. 

      2) What and how can CSOs contribute to such transformation to boost impact on the ground? 

      1. There must be collaborations and linkages on agrifood systems.
      2. It is important to strengthen the weak linkages depending on food system.
      3. It is important to identify the area of strength of the CSOs, leverage it and carry out capacity training and enhancement for improvements, and better efficiency.
      4. Actors along the agricultural value chains must be accordingly supported to reduce food wastage.

      3) What FAO and CSOs could maximize collective impact to adapt and/or mitigate climate change? 

      a) Develop a catelogue of existing adaptation and mitigation strategies.

      b) Sectorally determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the strategies, e.g, Fisheries. Aquaculture, crops, livestock

      c) Recognise the limits of CSOs to influence policies and programs of a country or region.

      d) Partners with relevant CSO.

      e) They must collaborate with the relevant agencies in charge of climate change for information.

      4) Based on your partnering experience, can you share a good example of meaningful engagement with FAO or another UN agency/development partner? 

      a) A good partnering example is the MSME project on best practices in the catfish industry in Nigeria. It was a training for fish farmers in Nigeria carried out by the World Bank and MSME in Nigeria.

      b) It worked because the selection process for the different professional bodies and farmer associations/companies was very open and transparent. 

      c) All the participating bodies were brought together, each with their different mandates. This created a positive comptroller and collaboration between the participating entities.

      d) There were predetermined conditions for the release of the grants in tranches based strictly on benchmarks and performances. 

      e) The crop of World Bank officers was professional in their interactions and, where necessary, approved changes to the original plan after detailed request and explanation.

      e) There was flexibility of engagement, knowledge sharing, and the willingness to learn on all sides.

      f) There was adequate monitoring, control, and participation by the World Bank. 

      g) The CSOs were brought together periodically to share ideas and were trained periodically to improve on their capabilities to carry out the assignments.

      At present, what are the most significant challenges CSOs face in their engagement with FAO?  What could FAO do to address some of those challenges? 

      a) Professionalism of CSOs

      b) Adequate funding

    • What are the barriers and opportunities for scientists and other knowledge holders to contribute to informing policy for more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems?

      This is a question of priority and knowledge gap in governance. There are situations where even when the best ideas are presented and the government is not thinking in that direction, nothing will happen. There is the question of priority. Is the contribution of research findings to informing policy the priority of the government? Are the issues of efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agriculture systems the priority of government? Are there knowledgeable people enough to push the ideas (researching findings and the use) forward when decisions are being taken at the various levels in agriculture? A government that is looking at food shortages, how to have resilient agriculture, and ensure the supply chains are not broken even though there are inflationary trends and so on, would source research findings in informing policy. In developing countries, policy trust seems to be more important.

      In Nigeria, the scientists and other knowledge holders and policy decision makers who generally think as politicians and civil servants, are not interfacing or collaborating as they should. The issue is to create linkages between the two groups for exchange of information. The various platforms that can be used for such linkages to bring the two groups together could be through a Think-tank, Research accessibility, Need -oriented research and Personal interaction between the two groups at various levels (Executive, Legislative, Political). A lot more fora must be created for them to be able to exchange ideas. The scientists (specialists and academicians) should not see their work as done once they publish their research findings. They must put more efforts to make it a point of duty to get the research findings across for the use of the community. One of the ways by which they can get this across, is to form think-tanks by which they will be available, for the politicians, to communicate their findings, and for the researchers to be focus specific. This will be more useful than the scientists are researching, publishing, and hoping that the politicians and civil servants who are the policy decision makers will find what they have published relevant or useful. This means specific investigation instead of just trying to pick out what has been published. In the areas of linkages, specificity, the language at times when scientists put out some of those findings, in publications, also need an expert to interpret them. The language ought to be simple and suggestive of where it could be useful, not just leaving it as a general scientific publication and hoping that anybody reading it would be able to make the work translatable. The best way is when the politicians can understand how to translate the findings into policy. Such that when they are elected, they already have a policy agenda. That is better than when they get into the office and are complete strangers to what is needed for policy decisions. One must go a step further, to each politician seeking office into the executive and legislative positions, to know there is a place they can tap ideas from which could be a Think-

      Tank. There are some Think-tanks in Nigeria and most of them tend to be economic and political. There are few scientific ones, and that means essentially very few in agriculture. These must be created. The formation of Think-tank is very important for the success of incorporating research findings into policy. Once these are created, there must be provisions for funding them. It may be that some of the ideas must be paid for in the future. A policy maker who is not a professional or does not have the requisite understanding, can also deploy an appointee to help study the utility of research work/findings and be advised on the utility of the work to the political agenda.

      Research Accessibility: The universities also must present themselves as the knowledge baskets of the country. At times, some lecturers carry out research to get articles into some journals without thinking of how relevant the findings are to the country, state, local government, or communities. That must be turned around so that the universities and research institutes or other institutions are made to focus on service and utility to the communities. This means more of adaptive research, purpose-led research, need-led research. However, the recipient or end-user of data sometimes must have an input into how the data is collected and generated. The scientist cannot continue to fund research themselves to generate data and government collect the data free of charge without adequate funding for research.

      The universities must not be seen as institutions where the ordinary man only goes to seek admission for their children and wards to study for a degree. The wall must be broken down for a farmer to have easy access to researcher and for both to be able part of the policy process. Other issues include:

      Education: It is a barrier if people you are trying to work with do not understand the reasons why the inclusion of research findings and knowledge holders in informing policy/policies.

      Education and access: The scientists and knowledgeable people have insights that the policy decisions makers do not have and so should be involved in informing policy.

      Economics: the contributions of scientists and knowledge holders (farmers downstream), to informing policies are important in understanding the intended and unintended effects of the policies. Culture: It is a barrier not to understand the culture of the communities for which policy decisions are being taken. Economics: Data is needed to calculate the financial implications of any policy at the planning, formulation, and implementation stage. How much to implement? How much will be gained?

      Foluke O. Areola.

    • Question 4: Innovation

      Agricultural work can be labour intensive, harsh and require additional workforce that is not always available or affordable. Which policies or programmes related to labour saving practices, mechanization, innovation and digitalization have led to the reduction of child labour in agriculture? What has been the role of agricultural stakeholders in this process?

      Question 5: Public and private investment

      Where and how has public or private investment in the agriculture sector been sensitive to addressing child labour? What is the role of agriculture stakeholders in this process?


      Agricultural policies and strategies have always been designed to increase production and productivity over the years. They are either to increase production of food products (crop production, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry); raw materials for industrial use and growth, or for export to meet world food demands or to earn the much-needed foreign exchange especially in developing countries. The goals and targets of agricultural policies are to increase self-sufficiency in food production, provide employment especially in rural areas, effect proper land-use and maintain the ecosystem, discourage rural-urban migration, improve and increase income generation, improve and stabilise rural economies amongst others. The objectives are being widened of recent to include competitiveness, food safety, animal welfare, trade, and pricing policies.

      Agricultural policies are influenced by agricultural practices and challenges in place. They are designed to build resilience to climate variabilities, landscape conservation and greatly influenced by the land use in Nigeria for land security and preservation. They are designed along with major agricultural outputs- major crops, livestock fisheries and support services which include mechanisation, storage, processing and marketing, extension, advisory services, training, research. Strategies deployed are to achieve the goals, objectives, and targets of the policies in place.

      In 2011, Nigeria, in the effort to ensuring food security, took a strategic decision to transform the agricultural sector, with focus on agribusiness, commercialization of agriculture, food security and job creation.  A comprehensive Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) was developed, which focused on improving agricultural value chains in several commodities such as fish, shrimps, sorghum, cassava, cocoa, rice, and maize.

      Targets set included:

      • Adding 20 Million MT to domestic food production by 2015.
      • Creating 3.5 Million jobs in the agricultural sector by 2015
      • Making Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production by 2015.
      • Reducing the level of wheat importation, by substituting 20% of bread flour with high quality of cassava flour
      • Grow food, create jobs, and ensure food security.

      The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) through the Federal Department of Fisheries, promoted increased fish production through the Aquaculture value chain, and the Artisanal value chain, under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) of ATA. The value chains were to create an enabling environment for increased and sustainable production of over one million metric tonnes of aquaculture fish in 4 years, generate employment for the teeming unemployed masses of Nigeria with a focus on the youths and women and pursue the gradual reduction of fish imports to conserve the country’s foreign exchange revenue that could be utilized to develop the local industry. This was also a deliberate import substitution policy. To achieve these, the Aquaculture value chain, under a 4-year implementation plan, planned to increase the annual production of fingerlings by 1.25 Billion, produce 400,000 metric tonnes of fish feed, additional 250,000 metric tonnes of table fish and 100,000 metric tonnes of value-added fish and fisheries products.

      Agricultural policies do not seem to directly address the issue of child labour. Some policies on child education may deter the practices of child labour. Operationally, a child can be defined as one that is below the age of puberty (biological definition); below the age of majority (legal definition); and an offspring i.e. son or daughter. Labour, on the other hand, can be defined operationally, as, for example, to exert the power of body/mind; or to toil towards a goal etc. Child labour in agriculture is deployed because it is free, cheap, and easily available. These categories of children do not know or have rights. In certain traditional settings and usually within the rural populace, the man deliberately marries several wives so that he can have many hands (which are his children) to work on his farm. The child in such a setting may, in fact be in the age of majority, and is supporting the father to produce food for the family, earn income or improve the standard of living of the family.

      The innovations under the ATA Aquaculture Value Chain, led to the production of fibre class tanks distributed to women and youth specifically to reduce the burden on the women in sourcing production units, or land to dig ponds. They were able to conveniently practise homestead fish farming. The policy did not dictate the ages of beneficiary but was not targeted at a child, however, it reduced the burden of using the children within the household as labour  hands to dig ponds and other associated labour in the construction of a pond or growing tanks.

       The value chains also procured modern smoking kilns designed by the NCAM to reduce the smoke emission during processing and the residue on the end products. The use of the kilns helped in improving the working conditions and the health of the women. This innovation did not eliminate the use of child labour but reduced the need for the children to source firewood, spend long hours in processing fish under unbearable conditions. Most of the processors upgraded their operations and employed hands because the kilns allowed for greater volumes of fish to be smoked at a time.

      c) Child labour in agriculture consist a problem in Nigeria in several ways. It does not allow foe sound education for the children, becomes street urchins and nuisances etc

      In the area of nomadic education in Nigeria, this is being addressed.


      The following strategies are suggestions that could help to end child labour in agriculture with reference to Nigeria:

      • There should be legal intervention with implementation strategies and stringent penalty measures to prohibit child labour along the entire value chain in agriculture.
      • The government should offer free and compulsory education to the Junior Secondary School Level which will take the age of the child to 15 years and ensure a level of education that can be deployed to other vocational occupations to earn a living
      • Access to funds /resources to enable better investments in labour/ better yields.
      • Introduction of high yielding species -crops, livestock, fisheries that will guarantee better productivity and higher returns on investment.
      • Deployment of simple but efficient technology for clearing, planting, harvesting, and post-harvest evacuation.
      • Cooperation between farmers to rotate work in each other’s farm especially at peak demands for labour for clearing, planting, and harvesting.
      • Encouragement of education through the provision of scholarship.
      • Education and enlightenment of the farmers on the need to end child labour, educate the child and adopt better farming techniques to improve production and productivity.
    • Introduction

      Small- Scale Fisheries has not been given the importance it deserves on the national level, as a major contributor to food security, livelihood, employment creation, etc. Over the years it had been the major contributor to national fish production with figures ranging above 70% of the national fish production figure in Nigeria.

      The FAO Small-Scale Voluntary Guidelines (SSF guidelines) are a set of recommendations developed to guide states and other actors on how to make small-scale fisheries more sustainable.

      Challenges of the SSF sector in Nigeria:

      The SSF sector has faced several challenges over the years. These include,

      a) Lack of substantial budgetary allocation to Small Scale Fisheries Development activities to fund national and international /donor counterpart programs.

      b) Under reporting of fisheries statistics as a result of lack of updated frame and catch surveys since 2007. Most especially at the national level, to predict or estimate actual catch volume and to facilitate or aid proper future planning for development.

      c) Many landing sites are remotely located, and not easily accessible for meaningful socio-economic development.

      d) Data from localised or community fisheries go unreported or are not captured, in particular, production by small scale aquaculture.

      e) The Small-scale fisheries operators are disenchanted by the lack of sustainable support by government to many of their challenges such as inadequate supply of fishing inputs, disruptions of their activities by environmental issues such as flooding and coastal erosion.

      The disorganised nature of their location and operations make it impossible to have the requisite data that would make monitoring of their fishing activities and other related associated activities easy and comprehensive under the guiding principles of the SSF guidelines. Unlike the industrial sector, where the visibility of operations enhances an appreciation of the sector’s contributions. Together with the large-scale aquaculture farms, their contributions to foreign exchange earnings in the country put them at a better advantage for private sector investments and government quick interventions. The SSF though better positioned to export non aquaculture products to the European markets, have not been able to maximise the opportunities because of their locations in remote areas, lack of technical expertise on quality control and best practices amongst most operators.

      Implementation of FAO SSF Guidelines

      Securing the commitment of government at all levels (Federal, State, Local Government) for the implementation of the FAO SSF guidelines is most important. This should be done before

      the design of a relevant, realistic and useful tool for the monitoring and evaluation of the guidelines can be achieved. The commitment would guarantee developing specific sector policies and legal framework to support SSF in the country. Though Nigeria has adopted the guidelines and accented to, by the Honourable Minister for Agriculture, the implementation is still very slow and poor. Sector specific funding is very important. There should be budgetary allocation specific to the implementation of the SSF guidelines. Deliberate efforts to create awareness and sound education of the SSF guidelines amongst policy makers, regulatory agencies, stakeholders at community, Local Government, State and National levels should be made. A good understanding of the principles of the SSF guidelines will make the monitoring easy and efficient to implement.


      Data collation

      Data is very important. A baseline data on the activities of the sector, and evaluation of progress or otherwise is the very first step. The last national frame and catch survey was in 2007. There is an urgent need for an updated national frame and catch survey to predict or estimate catch volume in SSF for the country. Sex-aggregated data will give information on gender. A bottom-up approach of management is also advocated and strong stakeholders’ involvement in policy formulation, decisions and implementation along the entire value chain.

      Monitoring indices

      The monitoring indices should include those that are operational at the community, state and national levels. The indices should monitor resources management, decision making, culture and social aspects and progress of all activities within the SSF. Monitoring should also be at different levels of operations taking into consideration social and economic factors within the communities. Some of the indices should include:

      a) Evaluation of governance structure within the fishing communities on the national level. What informs women’s participation and mode of participation in governance, decision making, and how the principle of equality and equity are considered or effected? Are the structures in place open in terms of gender? Identification of cultural and religious norms that affect Tenure and Use rights, women’s participation in direct fishing activities. How has going to Sea by women being affected by civilisation, urbanisation, capitalisation and relegation of women under different forms of biases?

      b) Development of measurable indices to evaluate the number of fisheries organisations at local, state and national levels, number of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), associations directly or in-directed related to SSF, the increase in the number of associations and their advocacy activities, and at what levels of Governance? Also indices to measure platforms of exchange of ideas, experiences, trainings and partnerships should include, number such platforms, number of women in leadership

      positions, number of trainings and partnership arrangements, number of women fisheries organisation at local and national levels.

      c) Indices to monitor the direct activities of women such as number of women in fishing communities, number of women in fishing, processing and marketing (governance structure in the markets), livelihoods and alternative means of livelihoods, other socio- economic activities and multiple roles in fishing communities.

      d) Actual fish production which could be through artisanal fisheries or small-scale aquaculture. Indices will include monitoring sea-related activities, those involved directly in fishing; boats and net making or supplies and repairs; sponsors of fishing activities who rent or lease fishing boats and other in-puts; and for aquaculture, types of fish growing structures, sizes, location, outputs; post- harvest activities; processing; value addition; marketing; employment. (women participation, mode of participation, cultural and religious norms in SSF to address gender equality and equity, respect for culture, discrimination etc).

      e) Trade – markets, marketing structure, trade dynamics. Monitoring indices should include discrimination in market access; under what terms are trade alliances formed between SSF producers and off-takers? What protects small -scale practitioners from being deprived of commensurate benefits for their catches since often, they lack the capability to store their products. How are the small -scale aquaculture producers able to market when they crop their ponds? Do they market directly? Another index is measurement of the lease arrangement or sponsorship of fishing expenditure. At what costs do they rent or acquire inputs from suppliers/sponsors and under what payment arrangements in cash or fish catches? These factors will affect the sustainability of the SSF.

      f) Human rights indices on conflicts between the artisanal fishermen and industrial fleets at sea especially within the non-trawling zone should include: how many conflicts are reported, resolved and compensation paid to the artisanal fishermen for loss of their fishing crafts annually? Are compensations commensurate to losses? Are the processes fair in cost of time and expenses to the fisherfolks or loss of fishing days? Are the processes of arbitration fair or subjected to human judgement, influence or are scientifically based? Develop recording system for loss of lives and livelihood at local, state and national levels? Develop monitoring indices for resolving conflicts within and between fishing communities and how is gender equity maintained?

      g) Still on human rights, are SSF operators compensated for pollutions from oil, sand and discharge of effluents? Are SSF operators adequately compensated by oil companies or do the communities consider SSF operators in sharing of compensations to the communities? Dredging, sand- filling in urban areas have negative effects on coastal fisheries, destroying spawning beds, disrupting live cycles of some species of fish, increasing the turbidity of the water and making it difficult to fish thereby reducing the catch per unit efforts, increasing steaming time and fuel consumption in going further to sea for those who have capable sea worthy fishing crafts. How many such incidences have been reported and how many were adequately addressed?

      h) How to monitor interrelated issues of food security, livelihood, climate change, poverty reduction, education, general living standards (provision of water, health

      services, schools, storage facilities (cold stores, stores), gear and repair platforms etc. Are there data to support the percentage of catches consumed by fishing households? Whatever percentages of their catches are traded off to meet other needs in the family? What is the level of development in the fishing communities - living and working conditions? What are the levels of vulnerability to the effects of climate change such as floods, flooding, drought) on their livelihood and operations (loss of lives, relocation from operating base or landing sites, loss of crafts, fishing inputs, ponds and growing structures washed away, fish and net loss, loss of processing facilities and dried up ponds) Are there schools and health services within the community? What is the level of education amongst the fisher-folks?

      Evaluation: There should be periodic evaluation of the guidelines on policies and regulations, improvement in general welfare and women participation, ability to adapt to effects of climate change, fish production data and of the other indices.


      There is the urgent need to establish a framework for data collection on which to base development of the SSF sector and the implementation of the FAO SSF Guidelines. A national implementation body should be formed which should include relevant government and supervisory agencies, CSOs, fishmen, fisherwomen and fish farmers, processors, marketers, fisheries cooperatives societies, researchers and universities, women organisations to monitor and periodically evaluate the implementation of the guidelines.