Key stakeholders, including farmers, representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, staff and students of Njala University were assembled at the University Campus (Njala Guest House) on Tuesday 7th August 2012 to take part in a day workshop on ‘Poverty Eradication and Grassroots Empowerment through Sustainable Integrated Aquaculture Development: fish, rice and piggery production’.
The workshop was organized by the University’s Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management School for of Forestry and Horticulture, in collaboration with West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development.
The aim of the stakeholders’ workshop was to adopt innovative integrated technology compatible with grassroots farmers’ experiences and also to select project beneficiaries.
Njala University’s Vice Chancellor, Alhaji Professor Abu Sesay informed participants that his University and farmers are key stakeholders that should work together and share knowledge that should also be transmitted at community level. He said the University should be useful to the country in agriculture, aquaculture, environmental science and forestry.
The Project Director, Dr. Olapade Oluwafemi Julius said the essence of the project is to reduce poverty among grassroot dwellers. He revealed that the project is meant for Njala University in Sierra Leone, University of Ibadan in Nigeria and Buea University of Cameroon.In his presentation, he assured that there is political will in the three countries to improve on food security.
He highlighted the development of quality control standards, training manuals for farmers, infrastructure assessment and public awareness campaign, among others, as been some of the project activities.
The Project Director further informed stakeholders that Njala University will receive 39.74% of the project cost for three years, adding that the project has started with three acres of land used for rice, fishery and piggery integration.
The National Coordinator for Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries, Mr. K.K. Dabo, who also doubles as Deputy Director in the Ministry of Fisheries reiterated the fact that fish farming is not part of Sierra Leone’s culture and so therefore the practice has not fully taken off.
He said the project is one way of enticing people to embark on integrated farming practices, adding that integrated approach to aquaculture in the country is very low due to low knowledge and capacity building.
Mr. Dabo assured that aquaculture activities will boost economic development when there is availability of natural environment/resources such as market availability, sustainable farming activities, improved technical capacity of farmers and improved government support, among other things.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.