Lagos APPEALS, NIOMR boost fish farmers’ productivity

LAGOS State APPEALS Project has trained farmers in the aquaculture value chain on fish processing and marketing to increase productivity, strengthen capacities and provide an enabling environment for their various activities.

The training was organised by Lagos APPEALS Project in conjunction with the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) to address the issue of low productivity and marketing of fish products, which are major constraint facing the development of aquaculture industry in Lagos State.

Speaking during a three-day training for 20 fish farmers drawn from various aquaculture clusters in Lagos State on value addition and post-harvest production of fish, held at Victoria Island, the State Project Coordinator of APPEALS Project, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, said the knowledge gained by the farmers would help them to minimise post-harvest losses and solve challenge of marketing in aquaculture value chain.

The State Project Coordinator said the training will enhance farmers’ productivity, higher profits for farmers, increase processed output and create jobs as well as increasing production of fish as farmer’s losses in terms of waste and glut would be reduced.

She said: “We are expecting a lot of farmers to go into fish production. There are off-takers and processors that will purchase these fishes from them. Canned fishes, prawn crackers, fish crackers can be sold outside Nigeria, which can help to generate income for the nation at large.

“A lot of our youths will be attracted to the fish crackers because the new technology is an attractive technology. Also, through the canning, a lot of investors will come into play and invest because if this technology exists and there are no moulds for canning then it becomes an issue.

“Also, investors and interesting fabricators have been identified that can key into this segment of this value chain. We are not just looking at production, but we are looking forward to processing, value addition, marketing and all of that.”

Head of Department, Fish Technology and Product Development for Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), Dr. Olaitan Olajuigbe, said it will be a good investment for fish farmers to venture into canned fish in Nigeria.

She said: “We have been able to take the participants through value added fishing produce like fish roll, fish cake, fish crackers, fish pie and the rest of them. We went through the process of smoking and canning of fish. For the canning of fish, we are trying to encourage our investors to go into it.

“Nigeria is the largest importer of Titus Sardine. We eat it almost all the time and we do not have any industry in Nigeria that is canning fish. So, it will be a good investment if we could see someone to take it up and venture into canned fish in Nigeria so that we can start exporting fish to European countries,” she said.

Giving indsight into the objective of the training, the facilitator for Aquaculture Value Chain in Lagos APPEALS Project, Mrs. Bukola Idowu, said the three-day training would improve marketing of produce by farmers.

“Most of the time there are challenges for our farmers to market the fish they produce. And we have realised that adding value to their fish will eradicate this challenges. So, Lagos APPEALS Project collaborated with NIOMR to train our farmers on how to add value to our fish (catfish and tilapia).

“They have been taught various things they can judiciously use catfish for like fish cracker, fish burger and most importantly, how to can catfish and tilapia in oil and tomato sauce. This will actually reduce the problem of marketing and challenges our farmers experience from time to time,” she said.

Appreciating Lagos APPEALS Project and NIOMR for the training, the President for Lagos State Catfish Allied Farmers Association and one of the beneficiaries of the training, Mrs. Nurat Omotayo Atoba said they have been trained on so many values to solve the issue of marketing in the aquaculture value chain.

She said they will extend the training to other farmers to enable them produce canned catfish which can be sold at supermarket within and outside Nigeria.

“This training is one of its kinds and an eye opener for farmers especially for those in aquaculture; fish farmers. We have been trained here on so many values to add to our fish in order to solve the issue of marketing in the aquaculture value chain. We were trained on how to use our catfish fish to make fish burger, fish pie, fish roll and canned fish so that it can be of international standard,” she said.

Also speaking, another participant, Prince Edward Adeleke Omoduga, commended Lagos APPEALS Project and NIOMR for the training, saying the training will assist farmers to start at minimum level and grow into a bigger one.

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