Nigeria Government to provide Feeds, Fingerlings to Fish Farmers
The Federal Government on Tuesday pledged to provide fish feeds and fingerlings to boost fish production in the country. Alhaji Bukar Tijani, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, said artisan fish farmers would be the target beneficiaries.
Tijani spoke in Abuja at a meeting with the officials of the Nigerian Union of Fishermen and Seafood dealers (NUFAS).
He said that the ministry had reviewed the registration forms for farmers under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) to provide fish feeds and fingerlings to the farmers.
The minister noted that “without fishery, the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) was incomplete”.
Tijani said that the FAO had recognised the fish sub-sector as the fastest growing sub-sector in the country’s food security quota.
Bayelsa, Kogi states and other flood affected areas will be given free input first, while others will receive fish feeds at 50 per cent subsidy but free fingerlings.”
He listed outboard engines, fish nets, twines and water testing kit, among other input, to be provided also at subsidised rates to the farmers to boost production.
The minister also said that the programme was expected to boost the supply of additional 200,000 tonnes of fish and additional number of job opportunities in the sub-sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the All farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) had earlier called for the inclusion of livestock and fish farmers in the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme because of their contribution to the development of the economy.
NAN reports that GES is the Federal Government’s fertiliser and seed subsidy programme developed in partnership with the private sector aimed at ensuring direct access to agricultural inputs by farmers.
The conditions of the e-wallet scheme required a farmer to be registered under the GES and repay 50 per cent of the cost of farm input, while the federal and state governments would pay the 50 per cent balance at 25 per cent each.
Speaking on access to loan facilities to the fish farmers, Tijani said that the ministry was working out modalities with some banks to facilitate the farmers’ access to loans.
He also said that the Jonathan administration was working with NIMASA, Nigerian Navy, Customs and some international bodies to curb the high level of sea piracy.
He further said that the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and the Ministry of Environment were working to tackle the issue of oil spillage in the Niger Delta as it affected fishing activities.
According to him, the ministry will also work with the FCT Department of Agriculture to expand the FCT fish market and also establish a fish estate.
Earlier, Mr Anthony Ashagye, President of NUFAS, reiterated the union’s readiness to partner with the ministry to achieve the objective of ATA.
The transformation agenda of Mr President, the MDGS target of 2015 and the Vision 20:2020 can be achieved if the core fishermen and fish farmers were carried along in the policy and management.
NUFAS is ready to partner with the ministry to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of fish to reduce diseases and death in the society in line with the ATA,” he said.
NAN reports that Mrs Ibukun Odusote, Permanent Secretary to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, NUFAS officials and other directors of the ministry attended the meeting.