Catfish farmers Raise Alarm
Due to the cash crunch across the country occasioned by the cashless policy and naira redesign of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), catfish farmers have lamented low patronage and its effects on them.
Speaking with catfish farmers in an interview with newsmen over the weekend in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of Simple Aquaculture and Standard Resource Farms, Mr. Anthony Hammed, lamented the low demand for catfish despite the acceptance of the cashless policy.
“The issue of low demand for catfish in recent times is of real concern to us.“The people are no longer buying catfish; fishes are just in the water consuming feeds and increasing our cost of operation. “Although we accept mobile transfers, we noticed that sales just dropped suddenly since the Naira scarcity.“Even now, we are slashing our prices just to sell our products even though the cost of ingredients and fish feed is skyrocketing daily,” Hammed said.
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He noted that despite the high cost of feed materials, they had to slash prices to stay in business. “Groundnut paste (GNC) soya fish meal is getting very expensive now, and people are not buying. “Just to sell, we have to drop the price, we do not break even, but we still have a little margin of profit with which we keep body and soul together and to be in business,” he said.
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Another farmer, Mrs Kemi Egbucha, said many farmers had closed their farms due to low patronage.“In fish farming presently, many farmers opt out of the trade due to increased fish feed.“Most times when fish farmers order feed from companies, they have their supplies delayed for up to a month, resulting in losses. “We used to buy a bag of fish feed for N11,000 before but now it goes for as high as N20,600 per bag.“Even at that, we still experience low demand,” Egbucha said.