Creating economic opportunities through fish farming

One area of agriculture that has not reached its potential as a source of employment in Nigeria is fish farming. Fish farming largely been ignored even when it has the potential to be a major source of income for families and the nation.

Creating economic opportunities through fish farming

Creating economic opportunities through fish farmingBy Abiemwense Moru

Nigeria is one of the countries blessed with many natural resources that could create job opportunities for their citizens and boost their economies through local production.

Currently, Nigeria is facing severe unemployment challenges. Many population experts blame many social strife in the nation today such as insecurity, cyber-crimes, cultism, armed robbery, human trafficking, kidnapping on unemployment.

According to the custodians of Nigeria’s statistics, the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 5.0 per cent in the third quarter of 2023 from 4.2 per cent in the previous quarter.

I earned N1m from fish farming in 2023, says Civil servant

“The report read, ‘The unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 per cent. This is an increase of 0.8 per cent from Q2 2023.

“In Q3 2023, the labour force participation rate in Nigeria was 79.5 per cent, having been 80.4 per cent in Q2 2023.

“The employment-to-population ratio was 75.6 per cent in Q3 with a decrease of 1.5 per cent compared to a ratio of Q2”, the report said.

The employment in the agricultural sector as share of total employment in Nigeria saw no significant changes in 2022 in comparison to the previous year 2021 and remained at around 37.99 percent’’, stays statista on employment data in Nigeria.

One area of agriculture that has not reached its potential as a source of employment in Nigeria is fish farming. Fish farming largely been ignored even when it has the potential to be a major source of income for families and the nation.

In Dadin Kowa community,  Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of Gombe State fish farmers say they are making huge profits from the trade.

In separate interviews with NAN they said  availability of water supply all-year round had enhanced their businesses.

Mr Sani Hashimu, a 43-year-old  fish farmer said his economic profile had improved since he took to fish farming.

Hashimu said he began the occupation with just one fish pond but gradually expanded to two, with one pond having 3,000 fish capacity.

He said he harvested fish from his ponds twice a year and, all things being equal, he earns N2 million profit from both ponds.

“I have never made money like I make from fish farming; in fact I became a millionaire through fish farming.

“This business of keeping fish and selling them when they are matured is really good and has better returns on investment than other aspects of farming,” he said.

For Mr Ezra Amos, a 73-year-old member of the community, said he raked in millions of naira from fish farming from his premises where the fish farm is situated.

Amos, who has been in the agribusiness for 12 years now, said fish farming was helping him live a good life after retirement, adding that he made good profit from the vocation yearly.

He said that he made over N3 million from fish farming in 2020 but noted that the business was now more expensive to run because of high cost of feeds.

He said his investment in agriculture was paying him more than when he was in service, adding that he had no regrets whatsoever that he was now a fish farmer..

Also, Mr Adamu Mahmuda, a staff of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Gombe State office, told NAN that he earned over N1 million from fish farming in 2023 as his part time business.

Mahmuda, who said civil servants could earn additional money through agriculture, said he established his fish farm two years ago with N300,000.

He said he had expanded the vocation and had started making his profits in millions annually, and described fish farming as more profitable than salary-paying jobs if one invested in the agribusiness.

“This fish farming is more than any salary if you invest well and acquire the right knowledge. You will never regret venturing into the vocation.

“My annual profit for now is more than N1 million and I am just two years old in the business and just operating on a small scale, being a civil servant”, he said.

For Mr Daniel Maji, another civil servant in the area, the community had become a fishing hub, adding that through the business, lots of jobs had been created with multiplier effects on the economy of the community.

Meanwhile, Mrs Oghogho Musa, President Defence and Police Officers Wives Association DEPOWA,

Musa gave the advice at a One-Day Seminar on Fish Farming and Financial Literacy, organised by DEPOWA for barracks women in Abuja.

“The whole essence of this seminar is to empower you with the right knowledge and necessary tools that will enable you make informed decisions in your financial planning and management strategies for fish farming business”, she said.

According to a fish farmer, Mr Best Tomter, fish farming was one of the easiest agricultural businesses to start as it could be opened with as little as N150,000.

“Fish farming is very lucrative because, currently our fish consumption in Nigeria stands at 3.2 million metric tons annually and then what our local production produces is just 1.2 million metric tons.

“So you can see that we have over 2.2 million metric tons deficit in fish production currently in Nigeria.

“So we need people to fill up that gap and there is market for fish farming,” he said.

The Federal Government said it is aware of the potential in fish farming to boost the economy through export and job creation.

Consequently, the minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, said the government was targeting the production of 18 million tons of fish, of which 15 million will be exported.

In 2023, the federal government launched a four year strategic plan, the National Aquatic Animal Health Strategy (NAAHS) (2023-2027) meant to improve and ensure safe fishery production in Nigeria.

Speaking at an event in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe said the move was to address the challenges bedeviling the aquaculture sub-sector of the economy.

It is heart warming that the government recongnises what fish farming can contribute to the nation’s economy and its job creation drive. The next step is to go beyond policy document and watch words with action.

News Agency of Nigeria.