THE Communication Expert for West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP-Nigeria),Mr Roland Longs recently disclosed in a statement that the Plateau Government has expressed interest in partnering with the institution to revive production of catfish species in the state recently in Abuja.
The statement quoted the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development in the state, Mrs Linda Barau as saying this during a visit to the Coordination Office of the project in Abuja.The commissioner, who was accompanied by some directors of the ministry, stated that the visit was necessitated by the giant stride of WAAPP-Nigeria in the area of Aquaculture. It is important to note that Catfish species was first introduced into the country from Plateau State over five decades ago from Austria.
Barau who described plateau as “home of catfish variety”, said that aside the breakthrough in aquaculture; WAAPP-Nigeria had facilitated improved seeds and seedlings in crops like sorghum, maize, cassava and rice for farmers in the country. The commissioner said recent events has led to near extinction of catfish, hence, the need to expedite measures to ensure that the said fish variety does not go out of circulation.
Barau said that Plateau government would partner WAAPP-Nigeria in other areas in the field of aquaculture as it is the core mandate of the programme, adding that the state is a veritable ground to raise several varieties of fish.
She stressed that the State Gov. Simon Bako Lalong in line with his Rescue Agenda was passionate about reviving the famous Panyam Fish Farm, thus the need for the partnership with WAAPP.
The acting National Project Coordinator, James Ocheme -Apochi , responding, express readiness to collaborate with the state pledging support for the catfish project.
Apochi, who gave a rundown of the core mandate of WAAPP-Nigeria, stated that the commissioner and her team were in the right place, adding that the visit of the commissioner was an indication of their passion to revitalise the fish production in the state. It should be noted that WAAPP-Nigeria is a World Bank sponsored project under the auspices of the ECOWAS, with the aim of boosting agricultural production, enhancing productivity and facilitating regional integration.