A final year student of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Miss Augustina Oyebadejo, has emerged as one of the two winners of the 2021 Women in Aquaculture Global Scholarship Programme.
Oyebadejo joins Marta Carvalho from Portugal as a joint winner from about 200 applications across 30 countries.
According to Kvarøy Arctic, the organisers of the programme, Oyebadejo and Carvalho will get funding for a specific project to be domiciled in their countries of origin as well as the opportunity for working visit to fish farm sites in Norway.
“Hosted in partnership with Seafood and Gender Equality (SAGE), the scholarship programme seeks to lift emerging leaders through its immersive, experiential programme, which includes funds for each recipient and a hands-on opportunity to experience working at Kvarøy Arctic’s farm sites in Norway.
“These scholarships are ways to bring valuable, creative young women into the fold and show them that they are supported, not overlooked and ignored,” Kvarøy Arctic strategic development officer, Jennifer Bushman said.
“We want to acknowledge the amazing applicants. All of them are deserving of every chance to pursue and achieve their dreams. We are better for their efforts and grateful that they are on this journey with us,” the organisers said.
Oyebadejo competed with several others with higher degrees. Carvalho, the other winner is a native of Porto, Portugal, and has pursued various degrees with the support of a variety of scholarship programmes.
She holds both a BSc and an MSc in aquatic sciences from the University of Porto and is currently pursuing her PhD in sustainable aquaculture and marine ecosystems at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Kvaroy Arctic noted that Oyebadejo was acquainted with fishing and the concept of aquaculture in her upbringing in the coastal town of Badagry, Nigeria, near Lagos. She witnessed the difficulty of the profession in an area where wild fishing harvests are limited, aquaculture operations are cost-prohibitive, and professional opportunities for women are scarce.
In her remarks, Oyebadejo said Nigeria has a domestic production of fish at about 800,000 tonnes and is known to be one of the largest importers of fish in the world, yet cannot meet the demand of the population.
Oyebadejo added that the scholarship will help her with practical skills and knowledge of efficient fish production. “I think this is a way to build aquaculture in my country and influence the economy positively while saving a lot of lives.”
The vice-chancellor, Prof Joseph Fuwape, congratulated Oyebadejo for the feat and described FUTA as a leading institution with highly cerebral staff and students who can compete globally.