The Federal Government has been urged to boost aquatic farming in Nigeria to grow the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and halt incessant importation of fish into the country.
According to the Executive Director of National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), Ilorin, Dr Yomi Kasali, fish farming in Nigeria remained at a low ebb due to poor commitment to maximising its potentialities.
Kasali, who spoke in Ilorin during the opening ceremony of a skill acquisition and empowerment training for youths and women, bankrolled by a member of House of Representatives, Yusuf Ahmed Tijani, commended the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for growing the sub-sector by over 60 per cent.
Over 35 women and youths from Kogi State underwent intensive one-week training on integrated fish farming.
Under the system, poultry, fishery, farm gardening and snails are nurtured together to form an integrated unit.
The concept is to achieve a zero wastage in production. It is achieved through the use of an output of one unit as an input to another unit. The concept disallows wastages but increases productivity and profitability, ensuring in the long run a good return on investment.
The NCAM boss said “the country’s fish production is still below its potential capacity but ironically, the majority of the country’s needs are sourced from abroad. It is, therefore, pertinent that the sector be nurtured to increase its productivity.
Justifying the choice of women and youths for the training, Kasali disclosed that about 70 per cent of the nation’s population was made up of the group of persons, noting that the desired economic growth could be achieved through the use of their strength and resilience.
Canvassing prompt establishment of a finance bank that could be saddled with the provisions of credit facilities to unemployed youths to encourage them in agriculture, he said it would eradicate the age-long bottlenecks associated with commercial banks.