By Stanley Onyekwere
The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has inaugurated aquaculture centre valued at N70 million for women and youths in Kwali Area Council of the Territory, as part of efforts towards achieving Mr. President agenda of lifting 10 million Nigerians out of poverty through the agricultural value chain.
Aliyu said the project was aimed at building a strong economic base for rural dwellers who constitute larger proportion of FCT population, and to engage them in productive ventures that will enhance their capacities to earn meaningful source of living thereby improving their socio-economic status.
Speaking during the inauguration of the aquaculture centre and tour of project facilities in Kwali area council the Minister noted that the decision of the FCT Administration to adopt the empowerment approach was inspired by the commitment to clearly articulate a path of economic self-reliance for individuals particularly in gainful ventures such as aquaculture and allied trades.
She stressed that the current administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has made agriculture a cardinal pillar of the Federal Government, leading to more effective farm input distribution system, provision of high-yield seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides to rural farmers in a timely manner and at subsidised rates.
She added that the overall increase in cultivated land, crop yields and contribution to the nation’s GDP, are testament to the increased total productivity of the agricultural sector.
The Minister further noted that the administration through Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat has also provided a farmhouse and a well equipped value addition Center, adding that each of the 50 beneficiaries will be given a starter packs.
“It is our projection that in full capacity, the center will not only bridge the gap in meeting demands for fish in the FCT, but it will also encourage the setting up of businesses as it relates to the aquaculture value chain thereby generating the much needed jobs for our teeming unemployed women and youths.
“I therefore call on the beneficiaries to mobilise to site as soon as possible and commence production. On our part, efforts will be made to provide all the infrastructures and facilities required for the immediate take-off of the entire estate,” Aliyu affirmed.
In his address, the Director of Finance and Administration in the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. Prospects Ibeh, commended the administration for the initiative, adding that the aquaculture centre will not only enhance food production but will also create jobs for rural communities.
The highpoint of the occasion was the distribution of starter packs to 50 beneficiaries by the Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, just as Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development and Minister of Environment delivered goodwill messages.
The starter packs include 2 nos fish culture tanks, 500 fish seeds, 10 bags of fish feed, 30 brooded chicks, 2 bags of poultry feed (starter and finisher), poultry vaccines, vitamins and 4 drinkers 4 feeders, just as the administration also allocated mini-plot for integrated farming, made up of fish culture, poultry, micro livestock farming and Olericulture.