AQUACULTURE AS A JOB CREATOR AMONG SMALL SCALE FARMERS

18
Sep

Fish farming or aquaculture is an integral part of the overall agricultural production system in Nigeria. Though not quite popular, the sector contributes about 3% of agriculture GDP . Fish is a very important source of animal protein for both man and livestock, implying that the production of fish can be a very important source of income, employment, and recreation for people around the world. Ironically, agriculture in developing countries emphasizes more on crop and livestock, whereas the aquaculture sub-sector which is somewhat neglected, offers equivalent potentials in solving the problems of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and unemployment. The word aquaculture describes the cultivation of freshwater and saltwater populations (especially fish) under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with artisanal fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish (online dictionary, 2014). Unlike harvesting from the wild, aquaculture requires deliberate human involvement in the life and care of the fish which is expected to result in yields that exceed those from the natural environment. Such interventions will include: stocking water with seed (fingerlings or juveniles), fertilizing the water, feeding the fish, maintaining the water quality and other things as the case may be.

2.0. AQUACULTURE AND HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES The consumption of fish and some other aquatic lives has from time formed part of man’s delicacy. Artisanal fishing can therefore be said to be one of the oldest professions on earth buttressing how important fish has been to man, and before the development of aquaculture, all fish consumed by humans was gotten from the wild (rivers, streams, lakes, oceans etc.) until man started exploring the domestication of fish. Earliest records of stocking wild fishes were recorded in China, Japan and Egypt over 2000 years ago while 2china is the leading producer of fish in the globe.

In Nigeria, aquaculture started around 1940’s with the establishment of brackish water ponds and a small aquaculture school at Onikan by the colonial authorities, Otubusin (1986). The main purpose of establishing those ponds was to adequately train staff (Extension Agents) so that they could effectively take on the responsibilities of running fish farms. In post independent Nigeria, external organizations such as the FAO also assisted in the establishment of an African Regional Aquaculture Centre (ARRC) at Aluu in River State, for training of personnel to effectively manage an Aquacultural establishment.

Farm and food English 1007 MAY 2015