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Friday, July 19, 2024

NDDC to Enhance Aquaculture Training in Bayelsa The Niger Delta Development Commission

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it will collaborate with the Bayelsa State Government and a private firm to train youths in aquaculture at the multi-million-naira Bayelsa Aquaculture Village in Yenegwe, Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state. The NDDC Executive Director, Projects, Sir Victor Antai, stated this when he visited the Bayelsa State-owned aquaculture farm, currently operated by Aquaseas Company Limited, accompanied by the NDDC Director Agric and Fisheries, Mrs. Winifred Madume; the Director, Procurement, Dr Week Doodei and other directors of the Commission. Incidentally, Dr Doodei was the state’s commissioner of agriculture when the facility was built. Antai said: “We decided to take a look at this facility and see how best we can incorporate it into the NDDC Holistic Opportunities, Projects and Engagement, HOPE, programme, which has agriculture as its key component. “The Project HOPE’ initiative seeks to engage youths of the region by creating employment opportunities for them. We have collated the data of the youths in the region and many of them are interested in agriculture. The NDDC is resolute in the quest to provide food security in the Niger Delta region and we need to engage the youths in agriculture to achieve this goal.” The NDDC Executive Director, Projects said he was impressed with the facilities at the Aquaculture Village, noting that the farm boasts of a hatchery, earth ponds, feed mill, as well as fish processing and packaging units. He remarked: “We have discussed the possibility of bringing our youths from the nine states of the Niger Delta to train in the farm. After the training, ponds will be allocated to each of the trainees so they can put what they learnt into practice and start their business here first, before moving back to their various states.” Antai said that the NDDC would go into a tripartite partnership with the necessary stakeholders, explaining: “We will interface with the Bayelsa State Government and also discuss with the company. Then the three parties will sit down to discuss how to explore the best partnership that will favour the youths of the Niger Delta region.” Earlier, the Managing Director of Aquaseas Company Limited, Engr. Steve Okeleji, said that the aquaculture village, sited on a127-hectare land, had 500 fish ponds, 60 of which were currently stocked with Catfish and Tilapia. He regretted that the farm was underutilised. He said: “The arrangement we have with the state government, is to have a social enterprise model, where the government will bring in the beneficiaries to be trained and also support them with inputs, while we provide the requisite knowledge and expertise to ensure that the project succeeds. “We want NDDC to collaborate with us in the area of capacity building, especially for the youths in the Niger Delta region.”

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