For Nigeria to achieve self-sufficiency in fish production and leverage on her vast ocean resources for export, adaptation of relevant technologies that will lead to the reduction in the cost of fish feed is the way out. Oluwayemisi Adeparusi, a Professor of Fish Nutrition gave this recommendation while delivering the 142nd inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022. She titled her lecture Feeding Fish: An Art. She said to improve the quality and quantity of fish production in the country, “there is a need to reduce fish feed cost using locally available ingredients that are sustainable, improve their storage through preservation and teach fish farmers how to bring such ingredients together.” Revealing the reason for low patronage and performance of the of the Nigerian fish sector in the scheme of things, she said “the major problem identified in the Nigerian fish farming sector is low patronage. This is due mainly to the high cost of fish feed and lack of financial support.”
The Lecturer said the route to take to change the fortune of the Nigerian Fish Farming sector is to first bring down the high and sometimes prohibitive cost of fish feed. She recommended the establishment of feed design laboratory and functional high technology feed mill for fish in different institutions in parts of the country especially in areas where fish farming is prevalent. According to her such laboratory would lead practical research and become centres for innovation and sustainability in the animal feed sector with companies and partners from within and outside actively participating in the building and running of such edifice with shared interest and profits.
Adeparusi said because of the growing incidence of droughts worsened by climate change , the stability of agricultural systems has been affected. She said it has therefore become imperative to look for alternative source of protein in feeding fish by farmers. She said the time has come for the adoption of “Unconventional, underutilized, novel non-utilised plant alternatives as proteins in fish feed by devising appropriate, adaptable or relevant technology (ies), provision of equipment and technical-know-how for the rearing of novel animal source protein such as insects would be appropriate in fish rearing.”
Adeparusi, a former appointee of the United Nations Eduacational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) Commission on Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology, (COMEST) also recommended adoption and usage of solar energy to replace the epileptic power supply and improvement of water quality to prevent pest infestation. She said, “There should be Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan to prevent pest activities, product contamination and profit loss.”
Adeparusi, the first female Professor in FUTA’s School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT) also called for the establishment of consultancy opportunities for fish farmers in higher institutions like FUTA where students can learn and gain practical skills and exposure for capacity building for the future. She also recommended agricultural studies for retirees and the unemployed. She said “Agricultural studies should be made indispensable, relevant and a trusted source of income. It could also be organized as a distance education or training center for people who are about to retire or to the unemployed youth. Different courses could be mounted covering a broad spectrum of fish feed operation management competencies.”
Speaking on University-Industry linkage, the don said “there should be continuing education programme, partnership between the universities and industries that would bring mutual benefits. There could also be exchange programmes between institutions that could draw attendees from different climes, exhibitors from different countries, tradeshows and networking opportunities.”
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, who chaired the occasion described the lecturer as an asset to the university. According to him, Professor Adeparusi is a leading light and mentor to upcoming academics in her field of study. He commended the excellent delivery and knowledge shared to would be fish farmers.