By Peter Uwumarogie
Gombe State Government says it is working to harness its potentials in fish production to boost the economy of rural communities in the State.
Mr Jidda David, Director of Fishery, Gombe state Ministry of Water Resources, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Wednesday.
David said that the state government had plans to leverage on the comparative advantage of the state as “some of our locations support fish production in large quantities.
“We have so many persons engaging in fish farming because we have the water bodies like the Dadin-Kowa, Balanga and Cham Dams, we have wetlands like Kalshingi community with over 200 clusters of fish farmers.’’
He added that Gombe state was second to Niger state in fish production in the whole of the North, saying it is one area identified to impact on the economy of the state.
According to him, harnessing the potentials in fish farming would create more jobs for the youths as well as boost the income of fish farmers in several communities where fish farming was taken as vocation.
David said that the state government through an African Development Bank (AfDB) project, would resuscitate the government-owned hatchery where fish fingerlings would be produced and sold to farmers.
“Under this, youths will be trained on how to breed and culture fish and starter packs would be given to them after the training. The initiative is part of the state government’s effort to empower farmers.
“The fish component of AfDB project is expected to start in 2021, we will have 100 youths trained annually and we will give them starter packs to enable them practice the vocation successfully,’’ David said.
He said that the state government had completed its fish feed mill, processing sinking feeds, but noted that many farmers were not disposed to it, “even though they are nutritious and can grow the fish.’’
According to him, farmers prefer the floating ones where their fish would be coming to the surface so that they (farmers) could assess the growth of their fish.
He added that the state government was working towards producing fish feeds that would meet the demands of farmers to encourage them to remain in the vocation.
David said that the state government was committed to improving livelihoods of farmers, hence the constant engagement of extension officers with fish farmers to guide on how to construct their ponds and other extension services.(NAN)