Catfish farmers have lamented low patronage due to the cash crunch across the country occasioned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy and naira redesign.
The farmers said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
Mr Anthony Hammed, the Chief Executive Officer of Simple Aquaculture and Standard Resource Farms, lamented low demand of catfish in spite of the acceptance of cashless policy.
“The issue of low demand of catfish in recent times is of real concern to us presently.
“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 but we noticed that sales just dropped all of a sudden since the Naira scarcity.
“Even now, we are slashing our prices just to sell our produce despite the fact that the cost of ingredients and fish feed is skyrocketing on a daily basis,” Hammed said.
He noted that in spite of the high cost of feed materials, they had to slash prices in order to stay in business.
“Groundnut paste (GNC) soya, fish meal are getting very expensive now and people are not really 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.
On her part, another farmer, Mrs Kemi Egbucha, said that a lot of farmers had closed their farms due to low patronage.
“In fish farming presently, a lot of farmers are opting out of the trade due to increment in fish feed.
“Most times when fish farmers order feed from companies, they have their supplies delayed for up to a month which in turn results in losses.
“There are a lot of challenges discouraging local fish farmers from the trade. Not having enough feed results in increased mortality in the farms.
“It is really making the fish farmers to get fed up with the business right now.
“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.