Lagos APPEALS mulls duckweed’s adoption for fish feed
Nothing less than 70 per cent of the cost of fish production is expended solely on fish feeds, a development that has hitherto impacted the profitability of the farmers.
But that may soon be a thing of the past as the Lagos State Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), is about to adopt duckweed as a protein alternative in tilapia feed.
Duckweeds are tiny, free-floating, aquatic green plants commonly found in lentic or slowly moving water bodies.
During a two-day duckweed demonstration training for tilapia farmers at the Sej Farms, Badagry, Lagos State, organised by Lagos APPEALS, one of the facilitators, Dr. Yakubu Yauri, an Assistant Director and Head of Department, Environmental Studies, National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR), New Bussa, Niger, said the innovation is capable of reducing the cost of feed to at least 30 per cent for farmers to have more profit.
“There are lots of useful and money-spinning plants on the field that are not being utilised. We all know that fish feed takes about 70 per cent. We are looking at how we can reduce it to at least 30 per cent for farmers to gain more.
“Our institute is looking at producing a feed that farmers could rely on that humans were not consuming. We want to avoid the competition. We are doing various research on some of the plants that human beings are not consuming to turn them into livestock feed.
“We want to avoid the competition of eating what the animals too are eating. When we avoid that competition, the price will be less. The plant is in some of these fish farms but they don’t know what it is used for, they are just harvesting and throwing them away, but you can harvest it, dry it and bag it. It saves money. Soya bean is expensive now, we want farmers to spend very little money and gain much more.”
The Facilitator for Aquaculture, APPEALS Project, Mrs. Bukola Idowu, who lamented that many farms have become moribund because of the high cost of feed, said duckweed could serve as a suitable replacement in tilapia feed.
“What APPEALS stands for is to enhance what the farmers are doing so as to increase their production, enhance their productivity and improve their livelihood,” she said.
Idowu added that the APPEALS project was collaborating with NIFFR, for the demonstration for farmers to use and adapt new technologies to minimise production costs.
The APPEALS Productivity Enhancement Specialist, Mr. Balogun Idris, who said the demonstration came at a time when farmers are experiencing major challenges in the country, said one of the aims of the Lagos APPEALS Project Implementation Unit was to increase the productivity of fish farmers by strengthening their capacities and providing an enabling environment for their various activities.
He said the new technology would create employment opportunities and also improve the livelihood of the farmers.
Farmers present at the training expressed their readiness to adopt the new technology to reduce cost of production.