THE Niger State Government says it will disburse N2.5 million as starter packs to 50 graduates of the National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research, to establish their own businesses.
Alhaji Haruna Duku, the State’s Commissioner for Fisheries and Livestock, disclosed this on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna.
The commissioner said the gesture was government’s way of encouraging youths to become self-reliant in the state.
He said that each of the 20 benefitting graduates from the fisheries research institute, New Bussa, would get N50, 000 to set up a fish pond as part of state government’s effort at improving fish production in the state.
“Records have shown that Nigeria imports about 75 percent of fish for consumption; Empowering our youths to go into fish farming will increase our production of fish and reduce fish importation into the country.
“There is a lot of market in fish farming; these youths will be self-employed and gradually expand their businesses to enable them to employ others.
“Fish contains nutrients that are very beneficial to human health when compared to other kinds of meat eaten by humans; that is why we are encouraging more fish production in the state,” he said.
According to him, the state government is giving more attention to agriculture as the critical sector in the 2018 budget presented to the state House of Assembly by the governor to boost food production in the state.
Duku, however, noted that the ministry would ensure proper monitoring of the beneficiaries’ progress to ensure that the fund given to them as starter packs were judiciously utilised.