A renowned fish farmer has stated that the recent coronavirus ravaging the world, especially the Asian continent has turned a boost to the Nigeria fishing sector.
The MD/CEO of Chice Fishries Remi Ahmed who disclosed this to The Nation in an exclusive interview, noted that since the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus, Nigerian fish farmers have made a U-turn in the purchase of imported fish feed, especially from China.
Ahmed said, “In the area of Tilapia fish, this coronavirus is a blessing in disguise for us, because at least, nobody with long stick wants to touch anything from China anymore, especially food related items.
“Even with our local packaging, with the type of sack, not the paper bag that is expensive, people are still patronizing us now.
So it is like, that is the only thing I think is now making people to rush our products, unlike in those days where they have to finish that of China that is not as tasty as ours, which is filled with all sorts of rubbish, at least our claims.
“This coronavirus has bailed us out. A lot of people have seen clearer pictures of the dirty way the Chinese are leaving, they feed their fish with all sorts of rubbish, including their feces and Nigerians will just see it in the market buy as they felt that it is cheaper than the local products.”
He urged the government to make money available in form of subsidy to the feed miller, adding that that the feed millers can sell at a reasonable price to make famers remain in business.
He said, “If you are a catfish farmer, you must have spent over N600 for a kilogram of catfish feed, and the market woman wants you to sell a kilogram of fish at either N550 or at the same N600.
If you have small mortality you can just finish at that N600, but if you have big mortality then, you are finishing at N650 and somebody wants to buy at N600, business cannot grow in this way.
“That is why we said that the government should call the famers and feed millers together to produce a blueprint on the way to grow this sector and not by sharing N50,000 to fish farmers, but if they decide to be sharing money I am not part of them that will engage in such.
I am not a relation to these senators or any of these house of reps member, but if we call the feed millers to a meeting and you give them incentives, it will crash the cost of fish meal so much, that even when we import, we would charge at a subsidized rate.
“If that is done, you know everybody will buy feed, the moment you are a farmer, you will buy feed unlike when you say you want to share N50,000 to all the farmers, people like me don’t need N50,000.
It is just like what most of these politicians are doing, including the speaker; he went ahead and bought some equipment for fish farming, even feed, fingerlings, for some people. It is alien, they were not trained, and they don’t know anything about it.
This is because the beneficiaries were never into fish farming, so, they come to the real famers to sell these equipment at a giveaway price, but if those of us that are in the business were considered and with subsidy on all the inputs for the feed millers, definitely this will boost the sector.
“In Egypt, a kilogram of feed is less than half a dollar, but a kilogram of feed in Nigeria is higher than a dollar, adding that this is why fish is more expensive in Nigeria.”