1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Globally, the fishery industry is significant in improving the economy as livelihoods of millions of people all over the world are dependent on it, especially, fish farming, playing a critical role of gainful employment, food and nutrition security for households (Greenfacts, 2008). Regrettably, Nigeria is not producing enough fish for consumption and also, the fishery industry is not providing the necessary financial empowerment needed by the fish farmers for one reason or the other (Foraminifera Market Research, 2016). Meanwhile, Nigeria has a high potential to develop fish farming to meet its increasing demand in fish food supply and reduce substantial fraction of her huge fish deficit of 400,000 metric tons (Food and Agricultural Organisation of United Nations, 2006). Aquaculture development largely depends on the availability of high quality, affordable and sufficient quantity of fish-feed and fingerlings supply to end users all year round. Fish seed production in Nigeria has increased from 3 million in 2015 to about 30 million in 2012, and 55 million in 2007 (Federal Department of Fisheries, 2008). Inspite of the increase, fish farmers are still confronted with challenge of insufficient supply and increased unit cost for production in fish seed and fish-feed enterprises. Both lead to high cost of input and eventual higher cost of fish as source of protein in the market. The task of meeting the increasing demand for fish-feed can be best realized through availability of local fish-feed production. Indigenous fish-feed enterprises are seen as an open approach because of ease of availability of local resources and access by farmers. In other to achieve this, an array of strategies has been adopted such as price policies, input subsidies, production credit and liberalization by governments and individuals (Foraminifera Market Research, 2016) to boost the output of these fish-feed enterprises, and hitherto their performance is low in terms of meeting the needs of the fish enterprise. It has become utterly crucial to budge extension focus from production-driven to market led extension which result in increased output and income. Market driven extension help entrepreneurs reduce production cost; improve quality, value and marketability of products leading to increase profitability of the entrepreneur. According to Osinem (2008) skill is the expertness, practiced ability or proficiency displayed in the performance of a task. The author explained that it is the ability to perform a task acquired through repetition of the operation. Okorie (2015) in his opinion said that to possess a skill is the demonstration of acting, thinking or behaving in a specific activity in such a way that the process becomes natural to the individual through repetition or practice. Skill in the context of this study is the ability of fish farmers to perform the various activities in fish feed production with maximum proficiency to ensure its steady supply for reduction of poverty in lives of the farmers. Marketing extension are measures which extension personnel take to assist their clientele in marketing (FAO, 2010). Consequently, for extension personnel to actually help in this regard, it is essential to apprise fish-feed entrepreneur’s perspective in the areas in which such help is needed for fish-feed marketing. This is because programmes and services can be effective only when they meet the felt needs and are confirmed by the target group that it has those needs (Oakley and Garforth, 2009) to enable continued adoption of fish-feed technologies for increased fish production. Feed production and quality is considered to be one of the major factors influencing the success of fish production in aquaculture. According to finding, feed constitute up to 60 percent of total operational costs in aquaculture production (Ozigbo, et al., 2014). Unfortunately, this percentage contribution is going higher as aqua feeds industry is hamstrung by many challenges including lack of feed ingredients and lack of trained personnel. It is against this background that this study was carried out on occupational skills of fish farmers in feed formulation for profitable farming in Nigeria.
The consumption and demand for fish as a cheap source of protein is on the increase in Africa, because of the level of poverty in the land. The vast majority of the fish supply in most cases comes from the rivers in the continent. While capture fisheries based on species that are presently exploited seem to have reached their natural limits (FAO, 2008c), there is considerable potential to expand aquaculture in Africa in order to improve food security (Kapetsy, 2012; Engle 2009, Jamu and Ayinla, 2013). Although potentials abound in the continent for the development of viable fish farming, one of the major hindrances to the development of aquaculture industry in Africa is the lack of locally produced high-quality fish feed. Fish requires high quality nutritionally balanced diet for growth and attainment of market size within the shortest possible time. Therefore local production of fish feed is very crucial to the development and sustainability of aquaculture in Africa especially, in the rural areas. For aquaculture to thrive and bridge the already existing wide gap between fish demand and supply especially in the Sub-Saharan Africa, the vital role of locally produced fish feed in reducing production cost, thereby making fish farming attractive to both private and commercial investors and ultimately boost fish production cannot be overemphasized. This paper looks at the importance of locally produced fish feed in enhancing the development, growth and expansion of aquaculture in Africa.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine occupational skills required by fish farmers in feed formulation for profitable farming. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the occupational skills required by fish farmers in feed formulation.
2. To examine the profitability in fish feed formulation by fish farmers.
3. To examine the impact of occupational skills required by fish farmers in feed formulation on profitable farming.
4. To examine the methods used in fish feed formulation.
5. To examine the relationship between occupational skills required by fish farmers in feed formulation and profitable farming.
6. To examine challenges acquired by fish farmers during feed formulation.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the occupational skills required by fish farmers in feed formulation?
2. What is the profitability in fish feed formulation by fish farmers?
3. What are the impacts of occupational skills required by fish farmers in feed formulation on profitable farming?
4. What are the methods used in fish feed formulation?
5. What is the relationship between occupational skills required by fish farmers in feed formulation and profitable farming?
6. What are the challenges acquired by fish farmers during feed formulation?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is hoped that the findings of this work will be of immense benefits to potential investors, farmers, extension workers and financial institutions to provide the most viable options for investment and opportunities for wealth creation. This research will also be useful to policy makers to develop strategy for development of a robust aquaculture industry to complement the livestock and agricultural cash crop productions that could translate into the much needed industrial growth for the country.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on occupational skills required by fish farmers in feed formulation for profitable farming, a case study of igbogene I-EPIE achievers farm.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (net, questionnaire and view).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Fish Farming: It involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures such as fishponds, usually for food or a facility that releases juvenile fish into the wild for recreational fishing or to supplement a species' natural numbers is generally referred to as a fish hatchery.
Skills: the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance
Feed Formulation: is the process of quantifying the amounts of feed ingredients that need to be combined to form a single uniform mixture (diet) for poultry that supplies all of their nutrient requirements.
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