The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has completed a fish farming project in Bilma, in the Kawar region in northern Niger, to benefit more than 6,500 people through its Community Stabilisation Initiatives in Northern Niger (COSINN) project, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office
In recent years, the IOM and local authorities have worked hard to improve the socio-economic development of the communities living in the migratory zone.
Sanda Chegou, the vice-mayor of Bilma, said, “Before this project, all the fish supply in the Kawar region came from Libya or Agadez. This initiative allows the local community to buy fish at affordable prices.”
“The initiative creates socio-economic opportunities and empowers our youth which is a priority for our region,” he added.
The Aboubou pond used to have a variety of fish species, particularly tilapia. However, its weak management in recent years has led to the loss and weakening of the existing fish stock.
This project is implemented in the framework of Bilma’s 2014-2018 Communal Development Plan (PDC) and addresses several of its objectives, such as environmental protection, natural resource management and more specifically to the promotion of fish farming.
The project complies with national environmental guidelines concerning the preservation of the region’s valuable water resources.
In addition, the project ensures food security for the community members, while also strengthening their leadership and entrepreneurial skills.
To ensure the sustainability of the project, 18 beneficiaries, including four women, attended training in fish farming techniques and business management, organised by Bilma’s technical environmental service of the Department for Wildlife, Fishing and Fish Farming. Through the project, the beneficiaries also received suitable equipment, including fishing gear.
The initiative is looking at producing five tons of fish per year and rebuilding the fish stock through the introduction of predatory species aimed at controlling overpopulation.