The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has affirmed Lagos State University (LASU) as National Partner Institute (NPI) for the development of its FISH4ACP project, designed to upheave the Farmed Catfish Value Chain.
FAO last year in October developed the FISH4ACP project alongside the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the European Union (EU) to invest in the value chain and minimize impacts on the marine environment.
The project in Nigeria is expected to kick-on for four years from 2020, simultaneously with nine other ACP countries.
As partner for the project, LASU will develop pragmatic solutions towards bolstering the catfish industry from players down to the consumers.
LASU was selected by the FAO after the varsity’s proposal came out top of all Nigerian Universities who applied. The institution won a partial grant of up to $95,000 [about N37.05m] to kick-start the project.
Leader of the team, Prof. Shehu Akintola from the department of fisheries, LASU, who spoke to newsmen on the project, said the varsity will work in line with national policies to effectively promote the catfish sub-sector.
He said the project partly funded by the EU, will be carried out based on rules and procedures on procurement of services of the agency
According to Akintola, Nigeria is the largest producer of catfish in Africa and the second-largest aqua-culture producer after Eqypt but has not lived up to its potential in the marine sector.
He added that successive Nigerian governments have failed to accord the sector the right attention it deserves.
Akintola further stated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project activities would be compressed in three phases rather than the six phases earlier announced by the FAO.
This, he said, was due to the varsity’s team in nine other countries under the project. He, however, said the project would be carried out with the delivery focus intact, despite the changes.
The varsity will also work with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as key actors and players in the catfish industry, the Prof. said.
Mr. Ademola Adekoya, the Spokesman for the Vice-Chancellor of University, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, lauded the scholars for their efforts in winning the grant for the project.
The VC charged the team to optimise the platform to proffer solutions to the challenges bedeviling the aqua-culture sector, assuring them of the varsity’s support.\