Nouboukpo Ekuevi, prefectural director of agriculture, animal and fish production in the Lacs

Currently, the availability of fisheries resources in these three prefectures is becoming increasingly rare. And according to Nouboukpo Ekuevi, prefectural director of agriculture, animal and fish production in the Lacs, there are two main reasons.

First, the overexploitation caused by the ever-increasing number of fishermen, second, the illicit fishing practices.

"We have some people who permanently settle certain points in the water that they commonly call 'akaja', which consists in cutting wood to put in the water and surround it with nets to collect all the fishes in the area including fry. This practice prevents the renewal of the fishery resources. It also acts on the environment as they do deforestation to obtain the necessary wood", denounces Mr. Nouboukpo.

The versatility of the environment involved

The government through the Ministry of Agriculture gave an ultimatum to stop the overexploitation and illicit practices throughout the lagoon system. In exchange, it was decided to convert these fishermen to do something else. These three prefectures have the distinction of being versatile in agriculture in general.

"Especially in the Lacs, those who are fishermen are at the same time market gardeners, breeders (pigs, poultry, small ruminants) or producers of corn, beans, cassava and peanuts", testifies Ekuevi.

After census, the fishermen (more than 400) and especially the practitioners of the sedentary fishery were sensitized on the misdeeds of this practice.

Then they were offered other income-generating activities through the Agricultural Sector Support Project (PASA). Some chose between cage, tray and pond fish farming. Others took either market gardening or livestock farming.

"Those who chose fish farming were trained in the construction of the enclosures, people were selected in all the localities around the lagoon system of the Lacs, Vo and Zio prefectures and there were formed management committees of the lagoon system of these three prefectures

The next step will be to equip them with food and livestock management and then will follow the financing", explains the director. To help farmers to better achieve what they have been doing yet, Ekuevi Nouboukpo strives to organize producers into cooperative based on the framework of the Mechanism for Agricultural Finance (MIFA) based on risk sharing.

"When they are organized into cooperatives, it will allow us to have more credible interlocutors, to make the messages more meaningful and to better guide them on what to produce and when. That's why we want to get them well organized in cooperatives and we are working on that", he argues.

What about agricultural projects in the Lacs?

As part of the government's implementation of agricultural and rural development policy, various actions to support agricultural production and promotion were carried out throughout the country, through the National Program for Agricultural Investment and Food Security and Nutrition (PNIASAN).

In the prefecture of the Lacs, these multiple actions through projects such as PASA, PADAT, WAAPP, AgriPME, MIFA have focused among other things on supporting the development of agricultural entrepreneurship, the support of a cooperative of tomato producers in contracting with DANGOTE; support for the development of livestock entrepreneurship through financial and technical support to 09 small ruminant and poultry farmers.

In addition, the provision of agricultural processing equipment to 31 cooperatives (05 ginners, 01 hullers, 25 rappers); support for livestock development by improving breeding conditions through the construction of 56 improved traditional chicken coops.

We also note the development of water reservoir for the benefit of grassroots development committee (CBD-SAKPOVE) to intensify fish production; the rehabilitation of Agbodrafo nursery center for the production and supply of improved fingerlings by the ITRA-CRA.

The construction of 5 storage and conservation infrastructures for agricultural products, 3 of which have 75 tons capacity and 2 of 10 tons capacity; support for cereal production with the provision of quality inputs are among other achievements.

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