Urban Fish Farming in Jos, Nigeria: Contributions towards Employment Opportunities, Income Generation, and Poverty Alleviation for Improved Livelihoods
In most urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa, the migration of people from rural to urban areas in search of better socio-economic conditions and improved livelihoods is contributing to increased unemployment levels, poverty and large scale urban deprivation. Given such poverty situations and the prevalence of people who survive on less than 2 USD per day, local populations in these areas are increasingly vulnerable to food insecurity as well as malnutrition. One way out of this poverty trap is practicing small scale agriculture both for subsistence and income-generating purposes. In this paper, the role of small scale fish farming as a livelihood strategy by urban farmers in the city of Jos has been investigated by means of a mixed-method research design. Thus, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected for analyses in order to understand the various dimensions of small scale fish farming amongst 50 respondents randomly selected in the city of Jos, Nigeria. The results have shown the spatial distribution of these farming practices, as well as the demographic attributes of these farmers. Small-scale fish farming is a viable source of food, generating local employment opportunities as well as much needed income in an environment of urban deprivation. Some of the income (above ₦20,000 or 55.56 USD) derived from this fish farming significantly alleviates poverty, as it exceeds the Nigerian national minimum wage of ₦18,000 (50.00 USD). Results also show that the lack of reliable water supplies and high production costs are some of the most constraining problems that militate against operational effectiveness and efficiency, along with poor marketing of their produce and lack of preservation facilities. The lack of access to credit facilities was also mentioned as one of the problems besetting this activity. From the perceptions of the respondents in this study, a number of negative environmental impacts associated with small scale fish farming have been highlighted. Given these results and the growth potential of this kind of farming in Jos, more integrated local development planning is recommended for addressing the infrastructural and resource needs of practicing farmers for achieving long term sustainability in small scale fish farming.