From MAGNUS EZE
Senator Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso is a water engineer. But his venture into fish farming taught him a lesson of his life. And the former Kano State governor is still brooding and counting his losses.
The two-time governor had after losing his re-election bid in 2003, thought of one investment that could keep him busy and fish farming appealed to him. Daily Sun learnt that Kwankwaso approached his colleague, then governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, to assist him set up a multi-million naira fish farm somewhere in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Unfortunately, the beautiful feasibility study that gave impetus to the project could not save it as the adventure failed woefully; and the millions went down the drain plus job loss for those employed by the business.
Kwankwaso, who narrated the unpalatable story of how he got his fingers burnt investing in fish farming recently while being conferred with the honorary fellowship of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Centre, Kado, Abuja, was saddened that after growing the fishes to maturity, there was no market for them.
The senator said apart from under-pricing the fishes, bulk buyers were not available in the whole of the FCT, as according to him, it was very difficult to find anybody who could buy more than N100,000 worth of fish.
The ex-governor identified dearth of market as a major impediment to the development of the fisheries sector in the country and tasked the fisheries society to lead the charge for finding solution to the challenge.
Besides, he recalled that the farm also suffered serious stealing of fishes by workers and outsiders. Kwankwaso disclosed that out of frustration, he eventually shared the fishes to his friends and packed up the business.
Future of fisheries
The senator would want a total transformation of the sector beginning with the review of the 2014 Fisheries Act; hence his call on FISON to come up with practical proposals or ideas including what they require from government for fisheries to work and emerge a big foreign exchange earner for the country.
He was upbeat that President Muhammadu Buhari would be very enthusiastic to support fisheries in the economic diversification drive of his administration; but deplored the approach, which he said had been more theoretical than pragmatic over the years. He stated that proper collaboration with government would engender policies that would check fish theft, ensure high quality and standard of fish as well as develop the market among others:
“I know that government would have a way of checking stealing of fish. The next thing is marketing; we must develop the market. We must have bulk buyers.
“There should be legislation on marketing. There must be proper market for the fish produced. There must be a way to handle the cartel; even rural women that sell fish have cartel. So, we must be thinking of export. Then, we must also be sure of the quality and standard of our fish.”
The senator was clear that he would join hands with other of his colleagues to work towards creating legislative framework that will usher in a friendly environment for fisheries to grow in Nigeria. And when that happens, he would sure invest again in the sector and reopen the shut doors of his multi-million naira fish farm and contribute in closing the two million metric tonnes fish deficit in the country.