The Ebonyi State Government has urged fish farmers in the state to embrace modern packaging to improve the value chain in the subsector.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Moses Nomeh, gave the advice on Saturday in Abakaliki during a meeting with the members of the Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Nigeria.
Mr Nomeh pointed out that Ebonyi rice was being sold worldwide because of its modern packaging.
“We want an improvement in the packaging system of fish to boost the value chain. Let me tell you, poor packaging can slow down business.
“In an open market, we want fish farmers to be selling their fish using weighing machine. We also want them to improve their packaging so that we can sell the fish in other states of the country.
“We have ordered members of the Fisheries Cooperative Federation to inaugurate a committee that can identify farmers in all villages in the 13 local government areas of the state.
“Governor David Umahi is ready to support and improve fish farming business,’’ he said.
The commissioner, who urged the farmers to be focused, described fish farming as a lucrative business.
The Chairman of the Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Nigeria, Ebonyi Chapter, Evaristus Nwefuru, said that more than 2, 000 fish farmers had so far been registered in the state.
Mr Nwefuru said that a cluster farm had been secured at EzzaMgbo in Ohaukwu Local Government Area for members in the 13 local government areas of the state.
“We thank the state government for providing a market for us. The market is going to be divided into sections, including smoking, packaging, scaling, adding that there would also be a section where seminars can be held for the farmers.
“We have engaged and inaugurated chairmen in the 13 LGAs. Right now, we are conducting data capturing, and identification of fish farmers in the villages.
“I believe with these measures, we will have enough fish for consumption and some surplus that can be exported,’’ Mr Nwefuru said.