Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), Rivers state chapter, has decried the absence of Fisheries Act, which they said is preventing farmers from obtaining Food and Agricultural grants in the state.
Dr. Awotein George, the Chairman of FISON, said in Port Harcourt that the state had no law that would enable farmers to access the grant.
“Without Fisheries Act you cannot access the grant and it has not been possible in Rivers, such grant was to encourage formation of agricultural cooperative societies,’’ he said.
He said, “River State environment is very conducive for agricultural activities; talk about the fisheries area, you have a lot of water; talk about crops, the soil is fertile,’’ George said.
He recalled that the fish farmers were more serious and determined in the 1980’s to feed consumers with fish from their ponds.
George decried the importation of ice fish, which he said, was being consumed today in the remotest creeks in the coastal communities.
“In the 80’s people did not eat imported fish, but today even in the most remote creeks, what you find is ice fish,’’ he said.
He explained that more than 70 per cent of the cost of fish production went into feed, and appealed to state government to subsidize the feed.
According to him, agriculture is doing well in the north because of inputs and encouragement their governments gives farmers.
“We neglect the most important economic mainstay of our country; oil is not a sustainable source of national income; it will diminish, it will fizzle out,’’ he said.
He advised federal and state governments to invest a huge part of the oil revenue on agriculture because it was more sustainable in nature