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Fishermen Hail President Jonathan For Fish Production Programme

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NAN – The Nigeria Union of Fishermen and Seafood Dealers (NUFAS) on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 applauded the Federal Government’s fish production support programme for fishermen and fishing communities nationwide.

The National President of NUFAS, Mr Anthony Ashagye, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

Ashagye said the programme, which was part of the government’s Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme, had led to increase in local fish production from 600 to one million metric tons.

According to him, NUFAS members in 15 states receive inputs such as fingerlings, fish feeds and water testing kits under the programme.

“We really appreciate what the government is currently doing for us.

“The sector was neglected until a fisherman in the person of President Goodluck Jonathan came on board.

“In the early 80s, Nigeria was leading Africa in fish production, but with the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) around 1985, we became the leading importer of fish instead of producing and exporting.

“But since the present administration came on board, things are gradually turning around for good.

“Under the Agriculture Transformation Agenda, we the fishermen are carried along and are involved in the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme.

“Our members in 15 states got fishing inputs and today, we thank this administration because our local production which was 600 metric tons has increased to one million metric tons,’’ hen said.

Ashagye, however, highlighted some of the challenges facing the country’s fish sub-sector, including lack of access to affordable to credit facilities especially from banks.

“We need financial supports from the banks in order to increase our production.

“Banks make it hard for us to get loan because of the high interest rate of 21 per cent which is not possible for farmers.

“We are appealing to government to make loan available to our members on single digit interest rate,’’ he said.

The NUFAS president also called for the provision of more inputs including fishing nets to the union members to boost their production capacity.

Ashagye equally stressed the need for regular capacity building programmes for fish farmers in the country.

“We need training. Fishery is developing scientifically. More training for our members will go a long way in developing the sub sector.

“I want to state clearly now that there is more to gain in the water than on the land and fishery has competitive and comparative advantage over crops and livestock.

“This industry, if developed, will help to solve many of the country’s economic challenges, including unemployment and poverty,’’ he said.

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