Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) and Ire Akari Fish Farmers’ Association, Ebute Afuye, Epe Local Government Area in Lagos State commissioned a medium scale semi-automated fish feed mill on Tuesday 23rd, June 2015 with support from the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria (under the Japanese Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project, GGP).
Ebute Afuye, a Lagoon coast community, is renown as a major fish center and has for centuries been a major source of fish and sea food supply. However, increasing population, pollution, over fishing, salt water inundation of the Lagoon among other factors has gravely hindered the income and prosperity of this Community. Thus in the mid 1990s, the United nations Development Programme (UNDP) trained the community and introduced them to aquaculture to reduce the pressure of fishing in wild and also to promote conservation and help the farmers adapt to impacts climate change. The fish farms in Ebute Afuye are Earthen ponds (with natural water supply) and floating cage culture (on the lagoon) in line with good biodiversity conservation practices.
However, due to difficulty in affording and accessing quality feed and inadequate extension support, most of the farmers, particularly women and youth are forced to abandon the ponds and seek alternative sources of survival. The exploitation of fishmongers and the general lack of capacity to add value and access better market opportunity simply compounds the situation. It is in a view to arresting this drift and address the challenges that HEDA Resource Centre is working with Ire Akari Fish Farmers’ Association, through an intervention designed to support the farmers through capacity building, extension support, non cash based credit support and improving market access through information and value addition.
The Fish feed mill is a part of the intervention and is expected to support over 250 women, men and youth small scale fish farmers (spread across several cooperatives) with quality floating feed at a much reduced price and also to operate a cashless credit support that will enable the farmers access the feed required and pay at the end of the cycle. Prior to now, the farmers have had to resort to formulation of very low nutritional quality and travel as far as Ijebu Ode or Ibadan to mill the feed.
HEDA Resource Centre will be partnering with the Lagos State University Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Biology and the National Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) for technical input in formulating highly nutritious feed as well as supporting the farmers to access very good breed for stocking. It is our belief that with the feed mill in this community and working with this research institutions, the possibility of culturing other high value species of fish. The entire intervention programme will greatly enhance commerce and increase income of people in the community as well as create jobs. The 7 persons feed mill management committee which will be comprised of women, men and youth from Ire Akari fish Farmers Association and HEDA Resource Centre would ensure that the gains of the fish feed mill impact positively on the Ebute Afuye community.
HEDA Resource Centre thank the People of Japan for the extension of love and support to the People of Nigeria through the donation of this feed mill. We call on the 3 tiers of Government (Federal, Lagos State and Epe Local Government) as well as other development partners and private sector entities to support this initiative and help bring to fruition the lofty objectives of the programme.