Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UN-FAO) and European Union (EU) have created a lifeline for fishermen thrown out of the Lake Chad as a result of the decade-old Boko Haram insurgency.
Island on the Lake Chad is believed to be the occupied by Boko Haram, who incessantly launched attacks on areas bordering the riverbed, the hub of fishing activities in Northeast region.
The attacks have made the fishing business, put at several millions of naira and acting as source of revenue for thousands of households, at the precipice as many have had to abandon the area.
The FAO and an agency of the EU, European Union Trust Fund, in order to arrest the downturn by opening opportunities for the fishermen and fish merchants that fled the area and have their source of living affected, launched a massive aquaculture programme in the Northeast region last Tuesday.
A statement by UN-FAO yesterday lamented that the armed insurgency in the region has resulted in the disruption of fishing livelihoods, an important source of food and income, especially for households dependent on the Lake Chad, a large and shallow lake spanning Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Borno State.
FAO further decried that the crisis has resulted in decreased access to fishing grounds for fishermen due to military activities and volatility of the communities bordering the lake.
It revealed that for households affected by the insurgency, on April 2, 2019, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations launched the first in a series of fish farming clusters across Borno, the worst affected state in Northeast Nigeria.
It said: “An initial five fish cluster, which includes 50 individuals, received fish farming kits in Monguno and Jere Local Government Areas in Borno State under a European Union Trust Fund-financed project to restore agriculture-based livelihoods in the state.
“Clusters received fish farming starter kits, including fish rearing tanks, fish feed, juveniles, water pumps and other accessories, to enable immediate fish production. All groups received training on good fish farming practices to boost production and sustainability over time.”
The statement quoted FAO Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, saying at the launch of the clusters in Jere, a few kilometres outside Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Tuesday that “for households affected by the insurgency, especially those formerly engaged in fishing activities, FAO believes that fish farming will help them to earn more, improve their income and become independent of food assistance.”
The statement added: “In 2019, FAO plans to engage 200 male-headed households in fish farming and train as well as equip a further 100 female-headed households in fish processing and marketing in the state.”