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The Federal Government said through its Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme it supported 18,580 fishermen and 14,800 fish farmers between 2013 and 2014 across the country.
This was contained in a report of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
The report stated that the Federal Government supported the fish farmers with free catfish juvenile, feeds, nets, ropes, floats, boats and sinkers.
NAN reports that the GES scheme is a flagship programme of the Federal Government, through which farm inputs are accessed at subsidised rates by farmers.
The scheme is being expanded to include access to farm machineries, loan facilities, insurance and extension services.
According to the report, 17,500 fishermen in Adamawa, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Edo, Imo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Plateau, and Taraba benefitted in 2013.
These states got a total of 5,575 bundles of nets, 11,150 bundles of ropes, 5,575 of floats and 11,150 of sinkers, the report stated.
In 2014, the report stated that a total of 200 fishermen per state benefited across 27 states which include, Adamawa, Anambara, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Edo and Imo.
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The others are Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Plateau, Taraba, Zamfara, Yobe, Sokoto, Rivers, Nasarawa, Lagos, Cross River, Borno, Bauchi and Jigawa.
It noted that the Federal Government gave 1,080 boats and 1,080 free insulated boxes which were distributed to farmers across at 50 per cent subsidy.
The report put the total cost of government support to fishermen in 2014 at about N1.6 million.
The report noted that a total of 400 farmers in each state of the federation including the FCT got free catfish juvenile at 50 per cent subsidy.
The report put the total cost of government’s support to fish farmers in 2014 at about N2.6 million.
Fish farmers in the country have called on the government at all levels to create an enabling environment to boost fish production in the country.
The farmers spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Most of the fish farmers across the country, however, identified poor electricity supply as one of the challenges fish farmers were facing.
Mr Mobolaji Muhammad, Chief Executive Officer, Firmament Fisheries, Ilorin, urged the Kwara Government to come to the aid of fish farmers in the state through subsidised fingerlings.
He also called on the state to procure feeds for fish farmers at subsidised rate, adding that many fish farmers in the state found it very difficult to buy feeds.
He said fish farming required a lot of water, and that electricity was needed to pump water into the ponds.
Muhammad said that the cost of production was high because of the price of diesel used to power the generators.
He said that government should also consider making the local feeds to be more nutritious, accessible and affordable to farmers.
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He said that he had been into fish farming for four years and the level of production was steady.
” For now the market value is low.
Fish is scarce because everybody is producing towards December time. So, not so many fishes are out there for sale at this time.
“The cost of production has been very high and it is usually between N450 and N750 per kilogramme,” he said.
In Ogun, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Ronke Sokefun, restated the commitment of the state government to support fish farmers in the state in order to boost fish production.
Sokefun said the state government had continued to raise fingerlings and sold at highly subsidised rate to fish farmers in the state.
“If you go to our model farm estate at Owowo in Ewekoro local government, we engage in fish farming and we sell at a very decent rate to fish farmers,” she said.
“Periodically we buy fishing bowls, fishing net and we give to the various groups of fish farmers.
“We also produce our own fish feeds– which we sell to fish farmers at very low rates,” she said.
Sokefun explained that the government had also continued to assist fish farmers to secure loans to boost their businesses.
Contributing, the Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Zamfara state office, Alhaji Musa Raji said the Federal Government has selected 400 fish farmers to be supported with inputs in the state.
Raji said the farmers would be supported with different farm inputs to enable them increase production.
According to him, the support to be given to the fish farmers in the state include fingerlings and bags of fish feeds.
“Each out of the 400 fish farmers selected will be given 500 fingerlings and five bags of fish feeds, making a total of 200,000 fingerlings and 2,000 bags of feeds to be distributed”
“The 200,000 fingerlings will be given to the farmers free of charge and each one is sold in the market at N150.
“Five bags of feeds will be given at the subsidized rate of N12,500 and each bag is sold in the market at N4,000″, he said. (NAN)