Monday, 20 October 2014

Obiano vows to make Anambra number one fish producer in Africa by 2017

Okechukwu Onuegbu's exclusive Interview with Obiano's SSA on Fishery


Mr. Emeka Iloghalu is the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano on Fishery, as well as the Southeast Coordinator of West African Agricultural Product Programme (WAAP-Nigeria) and Value Chain Innovation Platform (VICP) on Aquaculture.

Prior to the appointment, he had travelled to states and countries in Africa “preaching” mechanised fish farming through his Teemartins Aquaculture Group which is still waxing strong.

In this special interview with Orient Daily reporter, Okechukwu Onuegbu, Mr. Iloghalu x-rayed the Anambra state government plans to create wealth in the state via aquaculture.
The excerpts:

What fish entails in the society:
Fish is a lucrative venture. Lots of business opportunities abound in the industry. Medical experts say it remains the best sources of protein. It is far much better than red meats which contain bad cholesterol that is hazardous to health. So, fish represents a gold mine.
Its fish oil has Omega3, an essential material to good sight. Similarly, fish is usable in medicine for production of capsules and so on; while other industries and fields use it for breads baking, production of poultry or fishery feeds, fish cakes, among others.
There are cold water and salt water fish. Fishery preservative measures include salting (salt fish), canning (canned fish), freeze (iced fish), drying (dried fish), fish meal (processed fishes use for production of baby feed) and host of others.

Assessment of fish production in Africa:
Fish production is in shot fall in Africa despite our numerous formidable markets to move the aquatic products to the wider world.
In Nigeria, for instance, there are hosts of fish farmers most of whom produce in low quantity. The indices, signs and research reports are there for all to see. It is too glaring! You don’t need to go into detail hitherto. Almost all the streets in the country has one or more “point and kills” such as restaurants, hotels, motels, eateries, bear palours, crunches, to mention a few.

Reasons the large numbers of fish farmers’ under-produce:
Majority of the fish farmers have no properly structured business plans before venturing into the industry. Business plans, as you know, define your blueprint: set goals and objectives, vision and mission; your area of concentration, what you intend to achieve, processes and modalities to be adopted towards realising the dreams! Any business built upon this would surely grow to an enviable height! Not having a business plan is why most of them cannot even afford to feed themselves (as a subsistence fish farmer) or the world (as a mechanised fish farmer). This is what we are preaching.
You can choose to fish processing, growing of fingerings, producing of fish feeds, growing of all kinds of fish namely Tilapia, Catfish, Asa, etc.
There are all manner of aquaculture ecosystem system of culturing fish for someone to invest on. These include cage culture, mobile culture, earthen pond, concrete ponds, etc. You can adopt any in consonance to your business plan.
Other basic important factors to effectively and efficiently culture fish are feasibility skills, fish entrepreneurship skills and research. A fish farmer who wishes to excel in life must maintain constant training and retraining and research. This is where many people are lacking behind today. A host of them started well but fall out along the line either because of inadequate planning and creativity or due to inability to go acquire more knowledge. Training rejuvenates and reactivates the creative and innovative minds.
To that effect, someone who commenced operation with production of 10kg of fish a month can quickly rise to 1000 kg or more per month. And once you’re rising, money and other things would be added unto you. As a starter, you don’t actually need a bank to obtain a loan. They will seek to partner with you once you are on top.

State of fish production in Anambra State and Governor Obiano’s plan:
Governor Willie Obiano intends to make Anambra state the largest fish producing state in West Africa before 2017!
Recall that Agriculture is top priority on his four wheels of economic development. In agriculture, the governor picked interest in fishing and aquaculture in its entirety.
As a result, barely one month of assuming office as an executive governor of the state, he carved out political portfolio for the purpose of restructuring the industry. This he did by appointing me as his Senior Special Adviser (SSA) on fishery first of its kind in the history of fishery and governance in Africa. Before now; no single governor of a state in Nigeria, or president/ head of a state in any country had created such a platform (policy).
He also set up Anambra state fish policy we chose to refer to as “Anambra State Fishery Revolution and Development Project” aimed at bringing together stakeholders in the fish value chain to brainstorm on possible ways of exploring this great opportunity to making Anambra number one fish producer in Africa.
The objective is to encourage the various anchor fish producers to put more efforts in the business; to revive all the government and individual abandoned fish projects (if any) and further encourage more hands to invest therein.
So, Anambra fish policy focuses on wealth creation in the state via aquaculture which will in return fast-track production of fish in a larger quantity to accommodate the global demands, create quantum of employment, reduce poverty, integrate various kinds of fish, and regulation of fishery industry with a view to making it accessible to everyone in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

The target participants and plans to dominating fish farming in West Africa before 2017:
Every Anambrarian is a target participant; old and young, men and women. So far you’re ready for mechanised fishing.
We have commenced the basic thing at the state level. The stakeholders meet and interact about this copiously. We have concluded the plans to embark on the basic training and sensitisation of all Ndi Anambra, starting from the 21Local Government Areas in the state to 177 communities.
This will avail both the Micro and Macro Scale fish farmers’ access to reaching out to the government with their myriads of needs or plans.
These include but not restricted to training and retraining, provision of incentives, free fingerings and access to agriculture loans, business ideas in the industry to those wishing to join the trend newly; and provisions of motorable roads, lands or reduction of taxes and levies to large scale fish farmers, among other enablers.
Once we are able to achieve this, it will stimulate the downstream and upstream of fish industry as more fish farmers, producers, processors and rearers of aquatic species would be galvanized, thereby triggering massive socio-economic development in the state.
The policy will also live a indelible marks for successive administrations and other states or countries to emulate.



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