The recent flood that ravaged sections of Asaba, the Delta State capital, has swept away a fish farm which housed over 100 fish ponds and owned by over 10 graduates with 500 youths under their employment.
The fish pond with the name Camp 74, situated close to the Asaba Campus of the Delta State University, has been in existence for over years and the graduate farmers have made fortune out of the fish farm.
But the recent flood that swept across the state capital may have downed the dream of the youths if the state government fails to come to their aid to bring them back on stream.
The youths, under the leadership of Bright Odhomo, explained that the narrow canal which has been overflooded was a threat to their fish farming business in the state capital.
Odhomo, who spoke on behalf of the farmers, said the situation was compounded by the rains which fell consistently over the past four days, carrying the fish from the ponds into the fast flowing canal, and polluting the ponds with dirt and dangerous chemicals.
Odhomo said “some of the farmers have lost hundreds and thousands of fish, both fingerlings and matured table-size fish which were washed into the canal. Some of our members came here to meet over flooded ponds. For others the water has gotten polluted and we have been picking out dead fish in some ponds for about two days now.
“This will form a major threat to the agriculture agenda of Governor Okowa which is to create food security in the state and also create jobs. As it stands now, some people are already at the risk of becoming jobless if this trend continues, especially with the fishes falling sick and dying due to the polluted water.
“What we are asking the government to do is to channel this flood water to the River Niger. The canal is too small for it, and it needs to be dredged and widened to accommodate some of the water. The water can have one or two discharge points.” Odhomo said.
He blamed the trend on the recent linking of the drainage channel to the canal, adding that in the ensuing panic, some of the farmers had started selling away their fish at give-away prices to avoid running at a loss, due to the polluted water which was causing some of the fish to fall sick and die.
The fish farm which employs over 500 able bodied men, women and youths, is specially into the production of Catfish and Arapaima, and services various markets and towns surrounding the capital city including Issele-Azagba, Ibusa, Okwe, Asaba, Benin as well as Onitsha.