West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD), last week, trained no fewer than 100 farmers in integrated farming as part of poverty alleviation programmes.
The training, themed, ‘Poverty eradication and grassroots empowerment through integrated aquaculture development’, was anchored by the University of Ibadan, using Nikol Farm, on the Akobo-Olorunda road, Ibadan, as a demonstration farm.
The fish-rice-pig aquaculture integrated farming involves using earthen ponds to raise fish, rice and using piggery waste to raise insect larvae as feed supplements for fish, thereby reducing cost of production and maximizing streams of income by selling fish, rice and pigs.
The Head of Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, University of Ibadan, Professor Bamidele Omitoyin, while inaugurating the training, said though it was sponsored by WECARD, it was part of the mandate of the department to disseminate information generated by academics to the farmers.
He said space, labour and capital are integrated and properly utilized for optimum farm output with the integration farming if done with care and adequate supervision.
WECARD training grant coordinator, Professor Emmanuel Ajani of the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, University of Ibadan, said the research into integrated farming was farmer-generated and meant to tackle challenges of monoculture source of income to farmers.
He revealed that based on the success of the research into and implementation of findings of the aquaculture integration, the department had been called upon to train 5,000 farmers in Nigeria in the art of poultry-fishery-rice or pig-fishery-rice integration depending on demand.
“This integrated farming has been helping and will continue to help alleviate poverty and create wealth, as well as employment,” Ajani said.
Professor A. E. Falae said fishery had become the best traded commodity in Nigeria, with the annual production growth rate of between 9 and 13 per cent, adding that Nigeria is the largest producer of catfish in Africa.
He commended fish farmers under the umbrella body of Catfish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFAN), saying their efforts had made Nigeria proud at the international arena, urging them to embrace the integration farming and value addition to their farm products to ensure higher income and wealth.
He charged researchers to incorporate and integrate indigenous technologies to the solutions being packaged for farmers to enhance acceptability and adaptability, saying carrying farmers along in research processes would guarantee research success and adoption rate. [SOURCE: TRIBUNE]