With a determination to alleviate poverty among the two people in the grassroots areas, the Federal College of Wildlife Management (New Bussa, Niger State) and the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) have collaborated with Senator representing Ogun West Senate District, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, empowering a select group of 22 rural men and women in fish production and processing in the Iboro community.
Beneficiaries were guided in ethical fish handling, processing, packaging and branding, as well as fish marketing and record keeping.
Speaking at the training/empowerment programme, the Provost of the College, Dr. TA Ampitan said the fish farming and value addition program is critical for Nigeria as a nation, adding that fish farming plays a very important role in ensuring food security, as a rich source of protein in household diets.
According to the Provost of the College, who was represented by Dr Mathias Umunna at the event, he said it is embarrassing that Nigeria is still importing fish for local consumption despite the huge potentials the country has in fisheries and aquaculture.
“Fish farming is a livelihood providing a sustainable income to those involved in the practice. It has a relatively short gestation period thus offering fast yields. Fish farming can effectively be practiced in rural areas, hence a means of reversing the rural-urban exodus of young people which prevails today in the country. Fish is the most sought-after animal protein due to its general acceptability, affordability and health benefits, which creates a huge demand for it,” he said.
He urged participants to take the skills learned seriously as a unique opportunity to eradicate poverty and ensure secure and sustainable livelihoods. He also advised them to use the acquired knowledge and skills to start a fish farming business with the aim of developing it into a big profitable business in the near future.
Dr Umunna encouraged participants to explore various ways to be gainfully employed along the aquaculture value chain, such as fish processing, feed marketing, farming, production fry, etc.
Also speaking, the Senator representing Ogun West Senate District, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, represented by Hon. Kolajo Owolabi, said the legislator had seen fit to give his people the opportunity to be employers of labor instead of becoming job seekers, adding that he was about to reduce the number of unemployed and improve their income.
“The construction of a fish processing hall/house comprising an abattoir and a smoking oven, in Yewa North Local Government in Ogun State, which commenced in 2020, is now fully completed and commissioned by Senator Tolu Odebiyi. The project was commendable and timely. The project has begun to bring significant growth and development to people in the community by training and empowering 22 indigenous people from the Iboro community in fish handling, processing, packaging and branding, as well as fish marketing and record keeping. This is aimed at reducing poverty among the population.”
Managing Director of Consulting Firm Magic Touch Business Solution, Kwara State, Ms Olukemi Olusola, represented by Mr Bamidele Nathanael, said trainees should see themselves as trainers in training for the benefit of others .
He also said entrepreneurship development training has been launched for people who work in the fisheries sector or intend to own and run a sustainable fish processing business.
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