Located at Barangoni village in Bwari Area Council, the 10-hectare fish farm estate was a well-conceived model that would have triggered massive production of fish not only in the estate, but also the surrounding areas. The project, which was commissioned in 2012 amidst fanfare by the then Minister of State for FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide, is just a shadow of its conception and design. The project is characterized by infrastructure deficit such as lack of power and water supply.
The absence of these key infrastructure have forced many intending fish farmers away because of the cost of production – buying diesel, sinking boreholes and paying farm workers and security men, adding to the unbearable cost, and leaving farmers without any profit. Since commissioning the project in 2012, successive FCT administrations have abandoned or shown little interest in scaling up the estate’s critical infrastructure. Our correspondent, who visited the project, found very little activities going on, and grass had taken over everywhere in the estate as only a pocket of farmers were in production. Our findings show that some farmers came and left because they could not cope in the absence of basic amenities.
The fish farm estate was carefully planned to accommodate 100 beneficiaries, who were expected to produce, about 500 metric tonnes of fish annually with the capacity to employ 2000 people. Each of the beneficiaries has a space for at least two bathroom flat and three concrete ponds behind or besides the building for fish production. But seven years after, the estate cannot even boast of 100 metric tonnes of fish annually and many farmers are sceptical about putting their resources in it. Even the market and banks that were part of the key component of the project are completely absent. The police post is locked. “The absence of these things drive people away,” one of the few farmworkers at the site told Daily Trust during a conversation. With such a noble objective, it’s time for the new FCT administration to breath fresh air into the project.
SOURCE: DAILY TRUST