By: Zakari Aliyu
To boost food production and increase variety of fish produced in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for both local consumption and export, authorities of the FCT Administration have begun the training of Fish Farmers cross the Territory.
The training, which is aimed at equipping the fish Farmers with knowledge and skills for the production of feeds required for the daily consumption of the fish, and as well improve the nutritional intake, was organized by the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS).
Speaking at the ceremony held at Gaube Village, a suburb in the nation’s Capital, Abuja, the Secretary, ARDS, Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim said the Department of Fisheries organised the programme to create awareness on the technicalities, involved in both household and commercial fish production in varieties such as catfish, tilapia niloticus and heterotis niloticus using local ingredients.
The training, he noted will help to minimize cost of production, enable Fish Farmers produce en-mass and diversify in other fish varieties.
The training, he reaffirmed would also help the Farmers access the global markets beyond the sub-Saharan Africa.
Mallam Ibrahim who was represented at the occasion by the Director, planning, Research and Statistics, Yahaya Husseini,explained that the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu approved the replication of the programme in all the six Area Councils to ensure that 100,000 Fish Farmers in FCT are adequately sensitised.
According to him, records indicate that Nigeria ranks amongst one of the highest fish producing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with an annual production of 1.1 million tonnes, and local demand at about 3.6 million annually, which the FCT has its fair share in the figures.
“We are optimistic that with the resilience of our Fish Farmers, which has helped in placing Nigeria on global map will ensure that the Department of Fisheries deploy its technical expertise to follow-up the progress of the participants to ensure this objective is realized,” he said.
His words: “I want to assure you that the Secretariat will leave no stone unturned towards ensuring the success of the grassroot developmental initiatives of the Minister of State FCT, who you may recall in 2019 established the FCT Aquaculture and Allied Trades Centre for Women and Youth in Kwali”.
“Her intervention through the provision of additional infrastructure has helped shore up activities at the FCT Fish Farm Estate in Bwari”, he stressed.
The participants were selected basesd on the registered Fish Farmers Association across the Territory.
Earlier in her remarks, the Director, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mrs. Ifeoma Okeke said the beneficiaries, who had been sensitised on the diversification of Aquaculture through the promotion of Oreochromis culture, will further be trained on the management practices.
Okeke, who revealed that the fish dealers in FCT have decided to come together under one umbrella – the Unified Fish Farmers, Sellers and Processors, said the staff of the Department will visit the farms from time to time to offer further technical assistance when needed.
She adds: “Let the Fish Farmers take today’s training seriously and put to use the new knowledge that will be gained today. The beneficiaries should consider themselves lucky and reciprocate this good gesture of the FCT Administration by sustaining Tilapia culture in FCT”.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, the Chairman, FCT Unified Fish Farmers, Sellers Association, Abdulhafiz Afegbua described the initiative as timely and said it’s a veritable tool that will add value to fish farming in the Territory.
The training which was free, had assorted fishery inputs,which include fish fingerlings and fish feeds distributed to 200 beneficiaries selected from registered fish farmers associations, to enable them grow their businesses.