I will not ac­cept N1 mil­lion salary a month, fe­male farmer boasts

Daily Trust - - GOLDEN HARVEST - By Ibra­heem Hamza Muham­mad & Sa­fina Buhari

Mrs. Bilk­isu Hamidu has a mas­ter’s de­gree in Man­age­ment from Ladoke Ak­in­tola Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (LAUTECH), Og­bo­mosho, an HND in Sec­re­tar­ial Ad­min­is­tra­tion from Nasarawa State Polytech­nic and a Post-Grad­u­ate Diploma in In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions.

This fish breeder said she and her fam­ily are liv­ing in the heart of Abuja where al­most ev­ery lady pre­ferred of­fice work in the city cen­tre, in a serene en­vi­ron­ment, than work­ing ev­ery day in the harsh weather in the field hatch­ing and rear­ing fish for a liv­ing.

She said when she com­pleted her mas­ter’s de­gree about a year ago, her ambition was to se­cure of­fice work in Abuja city cen­tre and to as­sist her hus­band in rais­ing their chil­dren.

How­ever, she later de­cided to delve into fish farm­ing af­ter she started ac­com­pa­ny­ing her hus­band to his fish pond near the Abuja city gate in a Fu­lani set­tle­ment known as ‘Ruga’.

Mrs Hamidu re­called that she de­vel­oped in­ter­est in fish­eries from then on, and that the call by govern­ment to grad­u­ates to par­take in agri­cul­tural ven­tures such as fish and live­stock pro­duc­tion for feed­ing our pop­u­la­tion and even ex­port­ing to other coun­tries fu­elled the new flame.

Bilk­isu re­vealed that she be­came more fas­ci­nated with agri­cul­ture be­cause her hus­band loved the ven­ture de­spite be­ing uni­formed se­cu­rity per­son­nel with lim­ited time for farm­ing and fish­ery.

She said she has just clocked her first year in the fish­ery busi­ness, grad­u­at­ing to fish hatch­ery, con­sul­tancy and train­ing of would-be fresh-wa­ter fish farm­ers.

She sells fin­ger­lings, ju­ve­niles and jum­bos of cat­fish, but at times did hy­brids based on de­mand. She said she is ex­pand­ing due to high de­mand for the prod­uct.

“De­pend­ing on the quan­tity, one can start a fish pond with N600,000,” she said.

She said it is cap­i­tal in­ten­sive, she spent N3.5 mil­lion to set up her fish farm.

Mrs Hamidu noted that to go into hatch­ery, one has to con­struct the farm house or tent, have enough large plas­tic con­tain­ers, or con­struct a wooden box and use a tarpaulin to hold wa­ter. She said that she man­ages her farm with the sup­port of five staff.

She ex­plained that the eggs hatch in 12 hours and come to life af­ter 24 hours, adding that it then takes the fries (newly hatched) 12 weeks to get to fin­ger­lings stage; an­other eight weeks to get to ju­ve­nile stage and then three to four months to get to jumbo size.

Bilk­isu said that a farmer can de­cide to sell at the jumbo stage or keep feed­ing them for an­other four to six months to grow to full size.

The fish breeder boasted that she will not take any em­ploy­ment, no mat­ter the pay, as she can­not give up full time farm­ing for of­fice work.

She said she can­not take even a mil­lion naira as a monthly salary as she is now an em­ployer of labour and is “ful­filled be­ing a field farmer wear­ing rain-boots all day and mak­ing profit by the day in­stead of wait­ing 30 days for peanuts as salary.

Fish farmer, Bilk­isu Hamidu

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