Accordingly, the activity on improving biosecurity for the Nigerian catfish and tilapia industries aims to connect farmers to quality veterinary services and other stakeholders with the aquaculture value chain.
First, the team identified and engaged resident aquatic veterinarians within Ogun and Delta States to assist the farmers in disease diagnosis and treatment of sick fish as well as maintenance of standard biosecurity on the farms. In order to aid the functionality of the initiative, they equipped the resident veterinarians with hand-held meters to monitor basic water quality parameters like dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, etc. They also created e-AquaHealth, a web-based platform designed to bridge the gap between fish farmers and aquatic veterinary professionals to enhance the delivery of quality services and improve the wellbeing of fish.
“This is a well thought out development,” said Olajide Azeez, from Ilase cluster in Ogun State. “Now, I don’t have to guess what the problem is on my farm or ask people who are also as clueless as I am. I can easily use the application and get a resident vet in no time at all. Thank you for this innovation.”
The platform was designed using simple features for low-literacy users, and the platform will also be used to provide extension information to fish farmers as well as continuing education resources for aquatic veterinarians.
“The e-AquaHealth platform is very simple and easy to use,” said Arnold Irabor, a supervisor for Delta State connected with the University of Ibadan and an actor in the aquaculture value chain from Warri in Delta State. “The most interesting thing for me is the fact that the aquatic vets are in the nearby areas, so farmers don’t have to travel for miles to get the needed services for their farm.”
It is the research team’s hope that the farmers using the platform will recommend it to other fish farmers beyond Delta and Ogun States, and the community will grow by word of mouth beyond the activity’s reach, leading to an increased production of healthy fish in Nigeria.