Empowering Smallholder Farmers In Fish, Poultry Farming
Graduating trainees at the completion of a capacity building, empowerment in agriculture and other value chains for women and youths in the Niger Delta region organized by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, at The Polytechnic Ibadan recently.
The successful completion of training of over 200 women and youths from the Niger Delta region in poultry and fish farming entrepreneurial skills by the Federal Government will no doubt serve as a momentum towards growing the Nigerian poultry and aquaculture industry as well as significantly contribute to the overall actualisation of food security in the country.
The project which is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, successfully prepared the participants for taking up poultry and fish farming as forms of enterprises by undertaking capacity building programmes.
That beneficiaries were exposed to scientific management of poultry birds including housing, feeding, breeding and health care management, fish and birds.
Odule Juliana Akwaji, one of the beneficiaries who hails from Cross River state, told that they were trained to prepare low cost feed for the birds, using locally available feed ingredients among other things; adding that she intends to go into feeds formulation, stressing that producing feeds for the poultry is in itself a big deal.
“I intend to go into feeds formulation because we have been taught how to formulate feeds. We call it local feeds; we mix so many things like corn, fish meal. We have bone meal, blood meal that is gotten from cow blood, we boiled it, dry it, process it, and mix it all together,” she said.
She, however, warned about environmental pollution, stressing that there is need for governments to provide special area, especially in the outskirts of town where ponds can be located.
However, speaking during the graduation ceremony, Professor, Claudius Omoleye Daramola, the Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, charged the beneficiaries to take on the businesses of fish and poultry farming to tackle food security in the country.
Daramola expressed optimism that if the graduands work hard, and effectively apply the skills learnt, they would contribute to achieving food security, not only for their regions, but for Nigeria.
According to the minister of state, during the four weeks intensive training, the participants were adequately exposed to skills like poultry and fish production, value chains for poultry and fish production, agriculture as business enterprise, life skill training for personal business successes, team building and networking, and computer applications.
Addressing the combined graduates of fish and poultry farmers, the minister of state, admonished them to effectively practise what they learnt, and contribute to food security of their respective regions and the country at large.
“My candid advice to you is to properly utilise the empowerment package to set up enterprises that will improve your life, that of your family and even your county. Therefore, I am challenging you today to go and practice what you learnt, contribute to the food security of your region and country at large,” he said.
It was gathered that the participants were given mobilisation fund to the tune of N300, 000 each at the conclusion of the four weeks empowerment programme.
Professor Adekunle Fawole, the Rector of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, in his remarks, noted that fish and poultry farming businesses hold many opportunities but are still largely untapped.
Fawole urged the graduands to take advantage of the untapped opportunities in the sector in order to contribute positively towards uplifting the social and economic growth of their regions.