Mr Arinze Awogu, the Transition Chairman of Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra, has called on the people of the area to explore modern methods of fish production to improve their yield and economic rewards.
Awogu made the call when he visited Akpanam in Ossomala Town, a major fish producing community on the River Niger, as part of his COVID-19 awareness activities on Thursday.
Ogbaru is an agrarian riverine council area with all its 16 communities on the bank of the River Niger.
The council chairman said fish was a healthy and economical source of animal protein for people of all ages and would continue to be in high demand.
He urged the people to take advantage of the water resource to improve on their production.
Awogu lauded the people for their hard work, saying that Ogbaru could help mitigate the food crisis that might ensue after the Coronavirus lockdown, if the farmers got the needed support.
He said it had become imperative to encourage technology-supported fish production in Ogbaru as the poor farmers who relied on natural sources were becoming vulnerable due to depleting stock.
“There is no gain re-echoing the fact that Ogbaru Local Government Area is the fish net of Anambra State.
“From Odekpe to Ohita, to Atani and down to Ogwu-Ikpele, fish is God’s own gift to us, it is also a source of income.
“Today, fish provides Ogbaru people with most of their daily animal protein as it provides nutrients and micronutrients that are essential to cognitive and physical development, especially in children, and is an important part of a healthy diet.
“I visited Akpanam in Ossomala, a fish hub on the island, to encourage the farmers and explore the possibilities of introducing improved fishing technology that will make fishing in natural waters such as they have in Ogbaru less difficult and with much yield.
Awogu decried the lack of processing and storage facilities, which, he said, had led to huge economic loss and called on the state government and private investors to increase the value chain by acting as off-takers.
He called on Anambra residents and other Nigerians to increase their fish intake as it could help boost their immunity and enhance their wellbeing.
“Regrettably, most agricultural produce including crop and aquatic life from Ogbaru perish in the field as a result of lack of off-takers, storage facilities and access roads.
“I want to encourage more consumption of fish because fish is a high-protein, low-fat food that provides a range of health benefits.
“White-fleshed fish variety in particular, is lower in fat than any other source of animal protein.
“Oily fish are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, or the “good” fats, the human body can’t make significant amounts of these essential nutrients, fish should be an important part of the diet,” the council boss said.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Donald Ugwu (NAN)