By Adeola Badru
The University of Ibadan (UI) in collaboration with other partners, yesterday, organised a workshop to promote sustainable aquaculture and best management practices in the Nigerian Catfish and Tilapia industries.
The workshop titled: “Improving Biosecurity: A Science-based Approach to Manage Fish Disease Risks and Increase the Socio economic Contribution of the Nigerian Catfish and Tilapia Industries,” had in attendance stakeholders in the academia and industry.
In her address, the Principal Investigator of one of the USAID funded projects under the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, Prof. Olanike Adeyemo, said the spate of growth of the Nigerian Aquaculture industry in the last fifteen years is unprecedented, hence the essence of the project having identified gaps.
Adeyemo who was the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor, UI said the project sites were Ogun and Delta States, which are USAID priority states.
She said: “We shall be presenting our findings while engaging stakeholders who are Fish farmers, Veterinarians, Fish biologists, industries, Government MDAs and policy makers, media, among others.”
“This is in a bid to develop homegrown Best Management Practices (BMP) for Nigerian Aquaculture Industry. We shall also be commencing the process of developing a befitting National Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Strategy for implementation by competent authorities in this domain.”
According to her, a major highlight of the workshop is the launching of the project’s legacy web platform named “E-AquaHealth.
Adeyemo said the platform would provide a network for stakeholders and also provide timely support to farmers in terms of diagnostics support and linkage to verified Aquatic Veterinarians and other stakeholders within the value chain.
“On the platform are other extension resources for farmers, continuing education training opportunities for Veterinarians,” Adeyemo said.
One of the partners, Dr Jerome Delamare-Deboutteville, Co-Principal Investigator, WorldFish Malaysia said the workshop was important to disseminate information to stakeholders collected through research.
“We have developed a number of materials for extension workers and students. We are working on some advanced techniques for laboratory analysis for the samples collected.”
“The goal is to create a network for veterinary experts from the two states and link them with scientists from UI and other experts outside Nigeria to build capacity at the laboratory level and to create a very strong cluster between farmers, leaders and veterinarians,” he said.
Earlier in his address, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, commended the project, adding that research is the core of Universities, in particular University of Ibadan to proffer solutions to various problems in the country.
He lamented on the effect of the lingering ASUU strike and how it had negatively impacted on the education sector.
“The University of Ibadan is gradually moving to being a postgraduate University, which is an indication that you have a lot of postgraduate students and our emphasis is going to be on cutting edge research that impact.”
Also, the Head of Department, Veterinary Medicine, UI Prof. Gabriel Ogundipe said the project came at the right time to solve issues in the aquaculture in Nigeria.
He stated that there had been limited research done in aquaculture hence the inability of the industry to grow and boost economic development adding that the purpose of the workshop was to bridge the gap.
The project which was funded by USAID, was hosted by University of Ibadan and The International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) also known as WorldFish, Malaysia and Mississippi State University, USA.