By: Freda Aideyan
Federal Capital Territory Minister of State, Ramatu Tijjani-Aliyu, has distributed assorted fishery inputs to about 2,000 individuals and fishery cooperative groups from the six Area Councils of the Territory.
The inputs distributed include fish tanks, feeds, smoking kilns, fishing nets, hooks and liners, cold storage facilities, fish drugs and fingerlings.
Tijjani-Aliyu said the distribution of the assorted inputs was to boost fish production as a mean of achieving sustainable food and nutrition security.
She acknowledged that, the fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector was one of the fastest growing agricultural ventures in Nigeria contributing significantly to the country in terms of employment generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings and as a source of raw materials for the animal feeds industry.
According to her, “With records showing an increasing global demand for fish which is largely due to its nutritional and health benefits, we see the fish sector as having the capacity to accommodate and empower the teeming population of educated youths, who are trooping into the city for white collar jobs which are not readily available”.
Tijjani-Aliyu, therefore, noted that despite being faced with the challenges of a rapidly growing population, the FCT Administration has nonetheless been working hard to provide the enabling environment for all to operate and earn meaningful source of livelihood.
Her words: “It is against this backdrop that the FCT Administration sustained its support programmes which has resulted to improved development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector.”
“It is heartwarming to note that the Aquaculture and Trades Centre, Kuka which was recently constructed and commissioned is delivering on the set objectives,” she added.
“So far, the center has trained and empowered over 1,000 youth and women whose products are sold at different markets within and outside the FCT”, the Minister of State reiterated.
She revealed that the Administration has embarked on the sensitization and training of fish farmers in the six Area Councils to promote production of other fish varieties other than the popular catfish as a strategy to further harness the opportunities in the sector.
In his remarks, the Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim, noted that the nation’s capital is endowed with huge natural fisheries resources, as evidenced in its intricate network of rivers, streams, natural and man-made dams.
While assuring of the Secretariat’s commitment to introduce new innovations in the fishery and aquaculture sector, he stated that the Secretariat has widened its scope of support from not only the provision of inputs, but also to building the capacities of fish farmers so that they can easily transit from household production to commercial production.
The Secretary disclosed that the Secretariat has been making efforts to promoting production in new and more commercially viable fish varieties such as Tilapia.
“In achieving this objective, the synergy with stakeholders such as the Catfish Producers Association of Nigeria (CATPAN) has been strengthened. We have in collaboration with the Association encouraged fish farmers to organize themselves into cooperatives so as to make it easy to access government support programmes,” he said.
Ibrahim stated that within the past one year, the Secretariat has trained more than 2,600 fish farmers across the six Area Councils of the Territory.