By Ahmed Rahma Fish farmers in Nigeria have appealed to the federal government to extend its intervention programmes to the fisheries sub-sector to boost fish production in the country. The Publicity Secretary of National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN), Mr Chidike Ukoh, in an interview with the\u00a0News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja said it was equally important to cut down on import bills incurred by the country for importing fish. Mr Ukoh, who lamented the long period of neglect of the fisheries industry, said that the quest for government intervention was prompted by the necessity to boost fish production in order to meet domestic demand. He urged the federal government to set up an inter-ministerial committee to interface with the association to chart a way forward in growing the industry. \u201cWhat we can do differently is for government to reason with us; we have raised many memos and we have spoken about certain things that we need to grow the industry from our level, but the government needs to bring their goodwill to us. \u201cWe are not demanding for cash to go and share; let us deploy the resources to where it can yield and be able to have good returns on investments. \u201cAbout 90 per cent of the fish industry operators, like the rural fish farmers, are in the rural communities, we have the artisanal fisheries and we have the aquaculture, which is the main thing that every economy wants to develop and sustain. \u201cIf we sustain aquaculture, which means you are farming fish in your environment, whether with water body or outside water body, but you can create that environment. \u201cYou now begin to mass-produce fish whereby, a collection of all those aggregations will give a quantum leap into what you want to meet domestic demand. \u201cWe have the farmers and we know where they are; this is what they need and that is what we can do differently," Mr Ukoh emphasised. Mr Ukoh, who advocated for a special fund for smallholder farmers in the fish industry, lamented huge losses, glut, and business collapse, due to the lockdown resulting from the COVID-19, pandemic. He said, \u201cWhat is wrong with us having a grant for low-level farmers, like we have interventions here and there, like the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and the COVID-19 intervention? \u201cIf that can be extended to fish, it will mean empowering our farmers, who will have the courage to continue to be in business and be able to aggregate the production threshold and measure what is being produced."