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.