The Ebonyi State Government has urged fish farmers in the state to adopt modern packaging techniques in order to increase the exportability of their products and to strengthen the fish value chain.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Moses Nomeh, gave the advice on Saturday during a meeting with the members of the Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Nigeria (FCFN) in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
Nomeh explained that the adoption of improved packaging techniques was key to meeting world export standards, adding that Ebonyi Rice was being sold worldwide due to the quality of the packaging.
He said, “We want an improvement in the packaging system of fish to boost the value chain. Let me tell you, poor packaging can slow down [your] business.
“In an open market, we want fish farmers to be selling their fish using a weighing machine. We also want them to improve their packaging so that we can sell the fish in other states of the country.”
Nomeh assured the farmers of the governor’s readiness to support them.
The commissioner, who urged the farmers to be focused on fish farming as the business is lucrative, disclosed that the state government was making efforts to identify all fish farmers in the state.
“We have ordered members of the Fisheries Cooperative Federation to inaugurate a committee that can identify farmers in all villages in the 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
“Governor David Umahi is ready to support and improve fish farming business,’’ he said.
Speaking during the meeting, Chairman of the Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Nigeria, Ebonyi Chapter, Evaristus Nwefuru, noted that more than 2,000 fish farmers had been registered so far.
Nwefuru further noted that a cluster farm had been secured in EzzaMgbo in the Ohaukwu LGA of the state for the cooperative’s members.
“We have engaged and inaugurated chairmen in the 13 LGAs. Right now, we are conducting data capturing and identification of fish farmers in the villages.
“I believe that with these measures, we will have enough fish for consumption and some surplus that can be exported,’’ he added.