As part of efforts to achieve the objectives of the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project, the Lagos State Government has trained fish farmers on enhancing productivity in the aquaculture sector.
The State Coordinator, APPEALS, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, in her address at the two-day workshop held in Badagry, with the theme “Demonstration of Alternative Feed (Duckweed) as a Protein Replacement in Tilapia Feeds”, said the programme is part of the commitment of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration to fulfilling transparency in the management of the State’s finance and economy.
Sagoe-Oviebo, represented at the event by the Productivity Enhancement Specialist, Mr. Idris Balogun, added that some farmers find it difficult to purchase necessary feeds noting, however, that duckweed is an alternative and serves as a protein replacement in tilapia feed.
The training, according to her, was organised to broaden the knowledge and skills of fish farmers on utilising duckweed as feed, likewise in production processes.
In her words, “The training will broaden the utilisation of the duckweed likewise in the production too, and that is why we are concerned about feed millers because this can be an inclusion in the feed. Moreover, it can be fed directly, wholly and wholesomely”.
Speaking earlier, the Aquaculture Facilitator of the APPEALS project, Mrs. Olubukola Idowu, said that the training became necessary because the economy is an integral part of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
She described Lagos as a maritime State with abundant water resources and has fishing, as well as fisheries-related activities, as the primary occupation of its indigenous people.
Mrs. Idowu said, “One of the aims of the Lagos State APPEALS Project Implementation Unit is to increase the productivity of Fish Farmers by strengthening their capacities and providing an enabling environment for their various activities, hence the reason for the groundbreaking technology innovation”.
“The cost of feed now takes nothing less than 70 per cent of the cost of production, which is very high, due to some external economic factors. Nevertheless, we at APPEALS have the welfare of our farmers in mind, and we always think of how to enhance their productivity”.
“This is why we have collaborated with the National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR) in Niger State to enlighten and teach farmers on how to convert duckweed as a protein replacement in tilapia feed, and in turn, help save the large sum of money used in feeds importation”, she explained.
A facilitator from the National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR), Dr. Yakubu Abdullahi, advised farmers to utilise some plant waste such as duckweed and water lettuce, whose botanical name is Pistia Stratiotes, to serve as alternative sources of nutrients.
He stated that the plants are not for human consumption but could, however, be effectively put to other uses.
“Farmers should look for ways to convert plant waste into feed and something more useful. Farmers should spend less and earn more. They should also gain and learn the new technology information and make the best use of the opportunity in the course of their activities”, Dr. Abdullahi advised.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Titi Maxwell, while appreciating the State government for the laudable technology innovation, assured that she will use the innovation to develop herself and become a better farmer.