Our goal is feeding Nigerian with local fish, says NIOMR trainees
Some participants in a two-week capacity-building course for unemployed graduates and women in Lagos have said their goals include feeding Nigerians with nutritious fish, export processed products, create jobs by employing farm hands, self-empowerment and finding solutions to the challenges of other farmers.
One of the participants, Prince Kolawole Adeleke, from Oyo State, said he was grateful for the opportunity, and expressed that his expectations by the end of the training include becoming an exporter of processed fish, while his course mate, Mrs Okoro Chiamaka, said she would want to generate more income, employ others and feed Nigeria with processed fish.
Other participants Mrs Aduke Ajayi and Mr Bibi Fi-Ibite, from Rivers State, told The Guardian that their expectations include knowing how to overcome fish farmers’ challenges and preferring solutions to them and meeting the demand of Nigerians.
The training was organized by the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) at its research farm at Obadore, Ajah area of Lagos State, to train 60 unemployed graduates and women in the business of fish rearing, processing and marketing, as alternatives to white-collar jobs.
Executive Director of NIOMR, Dr Gbola Akande, represented by Dr (Mrs) Marbel Yahrere, disclosed that the aquaculture sector occupies a very prominent position in the economy of the country.
“This is because fisheries and aquaculture play major roles in employment generation, poverty alleviation, food security and foreign exchange earnings, especially for the rural poor,” Akande said.
The institute said the total demand for fish in Nigeria for 2015 was 3.26 million tonnes, whereas total domestic production in the same year was 1.027 tonnes.
Part of the deficit of 2.233 million tonnes is currently met by imports. Nigeria spends about $1billion importing fish into the country.The trainees, he said, has a very large demand to meet locally if they could master the rudiments of fish production, processing and packaging, and produce high quality fish that is affordable to Nigerians.
Each of the participants would be empowered with a starter pack containing one 25-kg capacity fish smoking kiln; two plastic basins; 25kg table-size catfish; one kitchen knife; one scale; 10kgs of charcoals and one logbook for record keeping free of charge. Akande said the programme was part of the agricultural policy of the present administration aimed at development of the agricultural sector.