By Fatima Muraina
Association of fish farmers and aquaculturists of Nigeria has called on government at all levels, particularly the Federal government to implement its plan to empower fish farmers for massive production of fish to meet high demand and curb importation.
Chairman of the Ondo state chapter of the association, Mr Sola Olaleye made the appeal in an interview with The Hope in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
Olaleye was responding to the federal governments promises reaffirming its support for the Aquaculture Sub-sector.
He said Federal government’s promises to assist fish farmers have always ended on pages of the newspapers and farmers have always been sending the required documents which have not yielded any result.
Olaleye urged federal government to be more proactive in its quest to assist fish farmers to increase production to avoid unnecessary importation to safe the country’s economy.
Identifying availability of juveniles and feed as major bane in fish production, he said government can provide them at a highly subsidized rates for them to meet the demands of the people.
According to him, the inputs being subsidized recently during the flag off of planting season by the state government was not economical to the farmers considering the cost to the location to access them.
He advised government to liaise with feed manufacturers in customising such feeds for farmers adding that government empowers fish farmers including other value chains like those in the high sea with juveniles, feeds, speedboats and smoking kim among others as well as organising a stakeholders meeting to channel a way forward.
These he said, will go a long way to ameliorate the challenges being faced in the fish industry and thereby providing a lasting solution to them.
In a related development, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono had at an international dialogue in Abuja, reaffirmed support and transformation of the Aquaculture.
Nanono explained that his ministry has been pursuing a holistic approach to the development of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sub-Sector through the diversification Programme of President Buhari.
He said, ”The important role of fish in food and nutrition security cannot be overemphasized, being a good source of protein for a human diet containing essential amino acids required by humans in the right quantities”.
The minister who was represented at the event by the Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Dr Ime Umoh, said the development of the nation’s aquaculture sub-sector is highly critical to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He disclosed that the ministry was willing to engage and partner stakeholders for the economic development of the sector for wealth and job creation as well as food and nutrition security.