FAO partners LASU, gives dons $95,000 grant for catfish project

A United Nations’ agency, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has selected the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, as National Partner Institute (NPI) for the implementation of its Support for the Development of Farmed Catfish Value Chain (FISH4ACP) project in Nigeria.

The project will run concurrently for four-years beginning this year alongside others from nine other African-Caribbean-Pacific countries.

LASU was selected by the world agency after adjudging its proposal as the best from Nigerian universities, and by this development winning a partial grant of up to $95,000 (about N37.05m) for the initial phase of the project.

The leader of the team, Prof. Shehu Akintola from the department of fisheries of the university, told our correspondent in an exclusive interview that the project is aimed at coming up with workable solutions that would form national policies towards effective value chains in catfish industry from farmers to other players down to consumers in the country.

He said Nigeria is the largest producer of catfish in Africa and the second in aqua-puncture following by Egypt but that the problem is that successive Nigerian governments have not been able to accord it significant attention.

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He said the news of winning the project which is being supported by the European Union was conveyed to the university by FAO and to be carried out based on rules and procedures on procurement of services of the agency.

Prof Akintola, who is also the leader of the Nigerian research team, who recently won $2,496,128 million grant jointly with colleagues from some foreign universities including University of Waterloo, Canada and some non-governmental organisations, explained that that raging global coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions have altered the initial arrangement of the project.

According to him, due to COVID-19 pandemic, our team under this FISH4ACP project like our counterparts in other nine countries would now compress our project activities into three phases instead of six phases earlier announced by FAO but without losing initial delivery focus.

He named other team members from the university to include Dr Kafayat Fakoya, also from the same department; Dr Sherifat Yusuff from sociology department, Dr Zakariya Amoo, Mr Olusola Olabanjo as well as Yusuf Olabisi and that they would all work in conjunction with key actors in catfish business and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

Earlier in a statement by LASU’s spokesman, Mr Ademola Adekoya, the vice-chancellor of the university, Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun, commended the scholars for winning the grant and urged them to optimally utilise it to solve identified problems.

He also said the university is ready to support them where and when necessary.



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