As costs of feed and transportation, which are essential for the existence of farms, rise by more than 100 percent, many catfish processors in Abuja have been forced to close down operations.
Daily Trust reported that nearly all the farms along the Abuja-Keffi highway have gone out of business due to the high cost of feed, transportation, and electricity.
Fish feed, which accounts for up to 70 percent of production cost, according to the Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria, has increased by over 100 percent since last year and tripled farmers’ production costs.
The prices of fish feed are surging owing to foreign exchange volatility as over 90 percent of it is imported.
“Fish may become very expensive for the average Nigerian. From Masaka up to Keffi, many fish farms that I know have closed down. Those who closed down last year never came back. This year, it became worse, and I had to shut down too,” Joshua Mangwut, a farmer who shut down his fish farm in Uke, along the Abuja-Keffi highway, told Daily Trust.
Also, investments in the fishing subsector of the agricultural sector declined by 76 percent from $37.7 million in 2021 to $9 million in 2022, and it has not attracted any investment in 2023.
Ali Sani, an Abuja supplier who used to go from farm to farm to buy and supply to women in the catfish roasting business, told Daily Trust that most of the farms he bought from were no longer operational.
“Now I buy from the Kado Fish Market in Life Camp, Abuja, but even the supply there, which comes mostly from Ibadan, is also affected because of the cost of transport, which has gone up significantly, and is exacerbated by the fuel subsidy removal,” he said.
Growth in the country’s fishing industry has also been on the decline; from 3.33 percent in 2019, it slowed to 0.26 percent in 2020 and grew marginally in 2021 to 1.16 percent. In 2022, the growth slowed to 0.47 percent.