A renowned fish farmer said the recent coronavirus that plagues the world, especially the Asian continent, has boosted Nigeria’s fishing industry.
Chice Fishries MD / CEO Remi Ahmed, who disclosed this to noted that since the outbreak of the feared coronavirus, Nigerian fish farmers have taken a turnaround in buying imported fish food, especially from China.
Ahmed stated that: “In the area of tilapia fish, this coronavirus is a blessing in disguise for us, because at least no one with a long stick wants to touch anything in China anymore, especially food-related items.
“Even with our local packaging, with the type of bag, and not the expensive paper bag, people are still sponsoring us now.
So, it’s the only thing that I think is now making people rush our products, unlike those days when they have to finish the one in China that is not as tasty as ours, which is full of all kinds of garbage, at least our claims.
“This coronavirus saved us. Many people have seen clearer photos of the dirty way the Chinese are leaving, they feed their fish with all kinds of garbage, including their feces and Nigerians only see it in the market and buy it, because they think it is cheaper than the local products.”
He urged the government to make subsidy money available to the feed mill, adding that manufacturers can sell at a reasonable price to keep customers in business.
He said: “If you are a catfish breeder, you should spend more than N600 for a kilo of catfish food, and the market vendor wants you to sell a kilo of fish on the N550 or the same N600.
If you have a small mortality, you can simply end up with the N600, but if you have a high mortality, you will be ending up on the N650 and someone wants to buy on the N600, business cannot grow that way.
“That is why we said that the government should call on producers and feed the mills to produce a growth plan for this sector and not share N50,000 for fish farmers, but if they decide to share money, I am not part of them who will get involved in it.
I am not related to these senators or any of these members of the House of Representatives, but if we call the feed manufacturers to a meeting and you give them incentives, it will affect the cost of fishmeal so much that even when we import it, we would charge at a subsidized rate.
“If this is done, you know that everyone will buy feed, the moment you are a farmer, you will buy different feed when you say you want to share N50,000 for all farmers, people like me do not need N50,000.
It is like what most of these politicians are doing, including the speaker; he went ahead and bought some equipment for fish farming, even food, fry, for some people. It’s strange, they haven’t been trained and they don’t know anything about it.
This is because the beneficiaries have never been in fish farming, so they come to real farmers to sell this equipment at an offer price, but if those of us in the business are considered and with subsidy to all food inputs this will definitely boost the sector.
“In Egypt, a kilo of feed is less than half a dollar, but a kilo of feed in Nigeria is more than a dollar, adding that this is why fish is more expensive in Nigeria.”