Fish farmers in Lagos State are presently leaving the business due to the increase in the price of fish feeds in the state.
The prices, according to the farmers, have gone up by as high as 80 to 100 percent and that was forcing some of them to abandon their farms in search of other business ventures.
A renowned fish farmer, Nurudeen Tiamiyu, said a 15kg bag of catfish feed produced in Nigeria was a few months ago sold at N6,000 but that it now sells for N9,000 while the imported ones that sold for N6,000 now goes for N11,000.
Tiamiyu, who is the managing director of Amolese Aquaculture Nigeria Limited in Ikotun, noted that some months earlier, tilapia feed made in Nigeria sold for about N3,150 per 15kg bag but now goes for N4,200.
He said feeds for baby fishes, called fries, which was N9,000 before, was sold at N14,000 as at the second week of this month and that others that were sold at N5,500 now sell at N11,500 per 15kg bag.
Tiamiyu, who is also the national vice president of the Tilapia Aquaculture Developers Association of Nigeria, insisted that foreign feeds were of better quality but that the local varieties were improving their quality and the feeds were getting better.
“Most farmers start with foreign feeds and end with local feeds. The nutrients in foreign feeds are well calculated and you get better conversion at early stages for your fish to quickly get to their right sizes. Small fishes usually consume foreign feeds. If you start with local all through, you will not get that result. The local feeds now compliment the growth you must have achieved from the foreign feeds,” he said.
While lamenting on poor sales and profit in the business, the farmer however expressed dissatisfaction with the way many farmers were abandoning the business, saying fish farmers were not getting corresponding sales to justify the increase, hence “production has gone down in several farms now.”
A feed seller in Lagos, Mrs Salmat Ahmed, also expressed displeasure over the increase in fish feeds prices which she said rose on a weekly basis.
“Many of my customers have stopped patronizing me”, she said. This according to her, was due to the hike in prices.
Salmat, the Managing Director of Bisope stores, a feeds seller, confirmed that most customers preferred foreign feeds though both local and foreign varieties are costly.
She said one of her customers, a fish farmer, had stopped working and also laid off his staff, thereby increasing the number of unemployed in the society.
Daily Trust reports that prices of locally produced feeds, such as Vita feed, Chi feeds and Crown feeds have gone up due to the fact the raw materials including maize, fish meal and soya are imported. The imported feeds which include Aller Aqua, Skretting, Coppens and Ziegler have raised their prices.
Credit: All Africa