By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has distributed assorted fishery inputs such as fish fingerlings and fish feed to 60 farmers to start fish production in various communities in the territory.
Mandate Secretary for the FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim, said this at the inauguration of Sensitisation Workshop on Diversification of Aquaculture Production and Employment of Fish Farmers in FCT.
The event held at the FCTA Exhibition Hall, on Thursday in Abuja.
Ibrahim said the workshop was to sensitise fish farmers on the need to diversify fish production and embrace new fish varieties other than the popular catfish species.
He said that available records showed that Catfish production accounted for about 80 per cent of all farmed fish in Nigeria, making the country largest producer of Catfish in sub-Saharan Africa.
Ibrahim, however, said with rapid growth and development of fisheries and aquaculture industry, there had been a sharp rise in the consumption of edible fish.
He said this could be attributed to urbanisation, change in lifestyle of families and medical benefits associated with its consumption.
Ibrahim said fish farmers in Nigeria were hard working and resilience and had placed the country amongst the leading fish producing countries of the world.
He said it was imperative that they began to expand their activities to accommodate other fish varieties which would grant them greater patronage and more income.
“It is against this background that the Secretariat through the Department of Fisheries is inaugurating this sensitisation workshop.
“The aim of the workshop is not only exposing Fisher folks to other fish varieties such as (Tilapia niloticus and Hoterotis Niloticus) but train them on effective production techniques for house-hold consumption and commercial purposes,” he said.
Ibrahim said that the secretariat would ensure that Department of Fisheries deployed its technical expertise to follow-up the progress of the participants to achieve the objective of the initiative.
“I want to assure you that the secretariat will leave no stone unturned towards ensuring the success of the Grass root Developmental Initiatives of the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu,” he said.
Ibrahim said that the minister established the FCT Aquaculture and Allied Trades Centre for Women and Youth in Kwali in 2019.
He said the centre had since establishment, boosted catfish production in the FCT and had already started training farmers on the production of assorted fish varieties.
Earlier, the FCT Director, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mrs Ifeoma Okeke, said the fisheries sub-sector contributed to both FCT and National economy through employment and income generation.
She said the subsector also reduced poverty, improved foreign exchange earnings and provided raw materials for the animal feed industry.
Okeke said that over 10 million Nigerians were actively engaged in primary and secondary fisheries operations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 60 beneficiaries drawn from the Six Area Councils of FCT are given starter packs. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)