The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP-Nigeria) has distributed solar fish dryers and retail tables to fish farmers to curb post harvest losses and ensure hygienic products.
The facilities were distributed on the sideline of a training of 50 farmers across the North West geo political zone on value addition and entrepreneurship in Katsina.
The National Coordinator of WAAPP, Dr James Apochi said the aim of the programme was to develop technologies, disseminate them for adoption by farmers for increased agricultural productivity.
He said the technology of solar dryer and fish retail tables were two of many technologies developed in the area of aquaculture by WAAPP-Nigeria for adoption by farmer.
He said going round the country, it was discovered that the traditional method of drying and selling fish by retailers were not very hygienic.
According to Apochi, the new technologies will go a long way to curb post harvest losses, ensure hygienic output to promote export.
“This technology is also to encourage farmers to go into mass production of fish. We want you to do your fish drying and retailing in a better and more hygienic way.
“The solar dryers and retail tables are environmental friendly and would keep flies, dusts and other contaminants away from your fish during drying and at the point sale.
“The raw materials for making these facilities are sourced locally and you can replicate and multiply them for every member of the association,” he said.
Apochi said he was looking forward to hearing the testimonies of the farmers on how the technology would impact on their business and income.
He said WAAPP’s monitoring team in collaboration with extension agents in the state will keep tabs on the beneficiaries to ensure proper usage of the facilities.
The Chairman, Katsina State Fish Sellers Cooperative Society, Mr Bashir Abusufiyan, expressed the gratitude of the farmers to WAAPP for the gesture.
Speaking on behalf of over one hundred beneficiaries drawn from Katsina and Daura Local Government Areas of the state, Abusufiyan said the technology would improve hygiene and boost market.
“We sell between 500 and 100kilogrammes of fish a day because we supply hotels, eateries and Niger Republic. If our customers come and see these facilities, they will know that we have improved and this will increase our revenue.
“We use to sell our fish in the open and flies will perch on it, buyer will be touching it without washing their hands and so on.
“With this technology, buyers can no longer touch the fish neither can flies and other contaminants,” he said
The chairman promised to replicate and mass produce the facilities for other members of the cooperative.
In his remarks, Mr Appeh Auta, Senior Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development on International Donor Partners, said the gesture was a key-in to the Green Alternative Policy.
He said WAAPP-Nigeria in line with the policy aims to promote technology and research in the agricultural space.
He added that WAAPP as a programme was expected to wrap up in couple of months but because of its efficiency, negotiations are ongoing for an extension.