‘Feeds cost hinders fish production’
Mr Lekan Ayangbola is the Oyo State chairman of the Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN). He explains why aquaculture farmers are unable to produce maximally and what to do to rev up fish production locally. FEMI IBIROGBA, Head, Agro-Economy, presents excerpts:
With the ban and the restriction of the exportation of processed smoked fish Nigeria to the United States of America, how have you been selling your products locally?
We are selling our processed fish locally through direct sales to our various outlets, supermarkets, the common markets, individuals and other neighborhoods. We encourage our members and educate them on the need to register their products with National Agency for Food, Drug administration and Control (NAFDAC), and there has been high compliance from them.
We are also likely to have NAFDAC officials to join us at one of our general meetings soon to help educate our members on how to get a NAFDAC registration number and on the importance of having products registered under NAFDAC. All these actions are to expand the sales of our processed fish.
How has it been producing fish locally and especially the frozen ones? Is there patronage as well?
It has been challenging. From the angle of inputs, getting feeds for the fishes cost so much. I must add that 75 per cent of the proceed in fish farming is used up in the procurement of feeds. At the moment, the cost of feeds is relatively high and this increases the cost of production. Basically, it has not been easy and it has affected productivity and profitability. For this reason, some of our members have not been motivated to produce at optimal capacity.
Have you explored the Anchor Borrowers’ scheme of the Federal Government, and can it help?
Yes. There are good opportunities at the Anchor Borrowers’ scheme. However, we have not been able to secure that grant. This is due to the processes involved. We need off-takers of the product. Secondly, the processes involved for the procurement of the grant have not been made with much clarity. In any case, we appreciate the efforts by the Federal Government, but we would like to be educated on how to get the loans.
Is the state government doing something to help abate the situation?
We are actually lucky because the incumbent governor had met with us before the election in a forum, where we narrated our ordeals and suggested possible solutions.The present government has been really supportive and in fact, this is the biggest agricultural gathering and it is also an indication of the immense efforts and contributions of the state government. We look forward to having more contributions and support from the Oyo State government.