By Itohan Abara-Laserian
The Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity, Engagement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS) project says it has identified three water bodies, as safe for Tilapia Cage Culture in the state.
Mrs Oluranti Oviebo, the State Project Coordinator (SPC), made the disclosure at the ongoing capacity building for aquaculture farmers in Badagry, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that APPEALS project is a World Bank-assisted project, in collaboration with the Federal Government, partnering the Lagos State Government.
Oviebo noted that comprehensive analysis had been conducted on the water bodies in Afowo in Badagry; Agbowa in Ikorodu and Ebute-Afuye in Epe.
According to her, the cage culture is in the open water naturally growing fish but confined in a cage; but the earthen pond is the aquaculture, where you have your pond and there is water seepage.
“The project has carried out thorough investigations on these areas – Afowo in Badagry; Agbowa in Ikorodu-Epe and also Ebute-Afuye in Epe.
“It is not enough to say you are going into Tilapia farming and then you will go and find any water body to start using. We took the samples of these water bodies and the soils so that it doesn’t look like a mere experiment.
“We have to be sure of the composition of these sites to ascertain their suitability to culture Tilapia,’’ the coordinator said.
Oviebo noted that existing fish farmers must have a minimum of three years experience in the business, with a very good business plan to access grants.
The coordinator said there was need to leverage on the country’s huge water bodies and diverse fish species.
NAN reports that the ongoing three-day capacity building in Topo, Badagry, would focus on Tilapia production, using the Cage Culture Rearing Method; Control of Water Hyacinth and Production of Organic Fertiliser from Water Hyacinth.
Mr Remi Ahmed, a Tilapia Cage Culture Farmer, said that the APPEALS project had created an opportunity for farmers to harness technologies in the fisheries sub-sector.
Ahmed said there were certain processes involved in cage culture, that would make tilapia cage culture easy and productive which farmers hitherto, took for granted.
“This event is to promote the cage culture of Tilapia. There are lots of water bodies that are underutilised.
“Let me be fair to the northerners who use them for irrigation; but in the West, we do not use them for anything.
“If you have the floater, the restriction, which is the cage you can put in the water, put your fish and start feeding it. It will reduce mortality because they are in their natural habitation.
“Even in the North, irrigation should not be the only use of our water bodies because you can still use the water of the cage to do your irrigation,’’ he said.
Mr Nurudeen Tiamiyu, Managing Director, Latia Global Investment Ltd, in his presentation on “Water Quality Management”, said there were technologies that could ease the business of cage culture.
He noted that farmers should take daily records of the water temperature, turbidity, water depth, movement, bottom type, cage size, shape, and mesh and happa net size among others.
Mrs Abeni Oshinlolu, a Cage Culture practitioner, on behalf of the participants, described the programme as an enlightening outing for them.
Oshinlolu said that some technologies and innovations had been exposed to farmers, which they were not aware of before now.