From: Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
In line with the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture and poised to bridge the deficit in fish supply in the country, a fishery technology company, Premium Aquaculture, has declared its readiness to boost tilapia fish supply with more than 20, 000 metric tonnes in the next five years.
Farm Manager of the firm, Govin Daraju, who gave the declaration in an interview with newsmen, on Wednesday, at the company’s fish project at Oyan Dam in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, disclosed the company was incorporated in 2014 to develop tilapia, catfish and shrimp farming projects across Nigeria.
Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, at the maiden harvest of Tillapia fish by the fish farm, on Monday, had said Nigeria’s fish demand stood at 3.1 metric tonnes per annum but currently hovering around 1.1 metric tonnes per annum, leaving a deficit of 2.1 metric tonnes.
But Daraju, on Wednesday, assured that the company had the capacity to produce tonnes of fish locally, which he noted was the cheapest source of protein for Nigerians and make the country self sufficient in line with the FG’s policy on agriculture.
He, further disclosed that the hatchery facility at Oyan dam has a capacity to produce 12 million fingerlings per annum that can supply half of the country’s present tilapia fingerlings requirement.
According to him, the food wastage in the country was very high due to lack of fish processing and storage facilities remarking it could be curtailed only through cold chain.
“The cold chain facility would help the company to supply all-natural, freshly frozen, premium tilapia to the market”, he stated.
The farm manager, therefore, identified lack of aquaculture inputs in the local market as the company’s initial challenges adding “the other major challenge was lack of fast growing tilapia fingerlings and uninterrupted supply of good quality feed to grow fish to marketable size.
“Foreseeing the challenges, our company has strategically invested in fish hatchery at first place and also invested in 100 cages.”