The Rivers chapter of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) says the absence of Fisheries Act has prevented farmers from obtaining Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) grants in the state.
The FISON Chairman, Dr Awotein George, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday that the state had no law that would enable farmers access the grant.
“Without Fisheries Act you cannot access the grant and it has not been possible in Rivers, such grant was to encourage formation of agricultural cooperative societies,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the world agricultural body only gives grants to agricultural cooperative societies to enhance fish production.
He said, “River State environment is very conducive for agricultural activities; talk about the fisheries area, you have a lot of water; talk about crops, the soil is fertile,’’ George said.
He recalled that the fish farmers were more serious and determined in the 1980’s to feed consumers with fish from their ponds.
George decried the importation of ice fish, which he said, was being consumed today in the remotest creeks in the coastal communities.
“In the 80’s people did not eat imported fish, but today even in the most remote creeks, what you find is ice fish,’’ he said.
He explained that more than 70 per cent of the cost of fish production went into feed, and appealed to state government to subsidise the feed.
According to him, agriculture is doing well in the north because of inputs and encouragement their governments gives farmers.
“We neglect the most important economic mainstay of our country; oil is not a sustainable source of national income; it will diminish, it will fizzle out,’’ he said.
He advised federal and state governments to invest a huge part of the oil revenue on agriculture because it was more sustainable in nature. (NAN)