Solutions To Fish Farming Problems In Nigeria
The fish farming problems in Nigeria need to be looked into to maximise the potentials of the gainful sector.
So, are you an intending fish farmer or do you want to invest in the fish industry in Nigeria?
Are you researching to get the right information on the fish farming problems and how to overcome them?
You are at the right place. It is paramount to get the right and useful information about a business opportunity before venturing or investing in it.
To help you, here are a few things we would like you to know before venturing into the business of fish farming;
Read also: Disease prevention on fish farms
What is aquaculture/fish farming?
What are the prospects of fish farming in Nigeria?
What are the fish farming problems associated with Nigeria?
What are the solutions to these fish farming problems?
In simples terms, Aquaculture is the rearing of fish and other marine animals. It involves the raising of freshwater and saltwater animals in a controlled environment.
Fish farming practice is not the same as fishing or fishery.
On the other hand, Fishing or fishery involves the harvesting of fish from natural waters (fresh or saltwater).
In Nigeria, Fish farming started as a government-driven initiative in Panyam Fish Farms in 1951 in Jos, Plateau State. It is now privately run.
Aquaculture is practiced all over the country, but the most active ones are in the South East, South-South, South West, and North Central regions of the country.
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Prospects of Fish Farming in Nigeria
Nigeria, today is the largest fish products market in Africa.
From research, it has been discovered that fish farming is the only way to bridge the gap between total fish demand and total domestic fish production in the country.
From these researches, Nigeria went into fish farming as a result of a drastic decrease in the supply of ocean fish due to overfishing, an increase in consumer population, habitats destruction, and water pollution.
Nigeria consumes an estimated 2.97 million metric tons of fish per year but produces only about 1.07 million metric tons annually, leaving a huge difference of about 1.9 million metric tons to importation with an import bill of up to $1.2b.
Even the 1.07 million metric tons produced locally, only about 313,231 metric tons are produced through fishing. About 759,828 metric tons are produced through fish farming.
Fish farming problems in Nigeria
Just like every other subsector in the agricultural sector and the Nigerian economy as a whole, fish farming is faced with its challenges.
Major fish farming problems include; poor fish farming techniques and methods, inadequate technical and professional capabilities and skills, high cost of fish feeds and medication, inadequate storage facilities, processing machines, and equipment, sub-standard broodstock, flooding, and market failures.
Solutions to fish farming Problems
Fish farming problems
- Access to finance
In this challenge, the Central Bank of Nigeria through its various intervention programmes has extended facilities to the fish value chain amounting to N21b.
Through the Commodity Development Initiative (CDI), the central bank has disbursed a total of N500m to 40 companies and over 3,000 farmers across the country.
This intervention has led to an annual increment of about 200 metric tons in fish production, mainly through fish farming.
The government at various levels should initiate more programs targeted at empowering fish farmers.
Also, Deposit money banks (DMBs), has provided credit facility for the aquaculture sector.
Fish farmers should try as much as possible to reduce the risks in their businesses to make them bankable.
- Quality broodstock
Not all fish species perform well in a controlled environment. For a profitable venture, the farmer’s ideal specie must possess either of the following qualities:
- Easy to breed in captivity e.g Tilapia and catfish
- Ability to grow fast.
- Healthy and have great resistance to diseases e.g Clarias (Catfish)
- High tolerance for poor water quality e.g Clarias
- Easy to feed with supplementary feed e.g Tilapia
- Low cost of production e.g Tilapia, Clarias
- Easily marketable in the Nigerian market.
The government should set up a Marine Research and Oceanography facility with adequate financing to carry out research on fishing and fish management to develop and breed quality broodstock species.
The ideal pond fish farmers are to use should be one of the following; concrete ponds, plastic tanks, or mobile tarpaulin to house their fish and avoid the use of earthen ponds, pens, and cages which can be easily flooded.
- Proper Fish Health Management and Biosecurity
Fish health maintenance is important for profitable fish farming.
Poor growth, poor feed consumption, low yield, increased disease outbreak, and high mortality rate are the resultant effects of poor fish health management.
Therefore, these fish farming problems can be dealt with through proper fish health management to ensure high profitability in aquaculture.
This can be achieved by choosing a farm site location with good water quality and enough quantity, high-quality feed, good quality broodstock.
Biosecurity is very important in trying to prevent or reduce the risk of introducing or spreading infectious diseases into or between a particular fish population.
- Market stabilization and linkage
Market failure is a major one in the number of fish farming problems affecting the business in Nigeria.
Fish farming in particular and agriculture, in general, can not be successful without marketing that is, getting the products from the farmers to the hands of the final consumers.
- Fluctuation of prices affects the farmers’ revenue.
Bad road network and high cost of transportation affect the profitability of fish farming business.
Due to poor access to the market, fish farmers most times sell their produce out of desperation and the buyers usually purchase this produce at ridiculous prices compared to what is obtainable in the market.
The government, therefore, should improve the state of road infrastructure to reduce the cost of transportation and minimize losses on the road.
Cooling vans should be used for the transportation of fish and marine products to preserve fish against spoilage even while on transit.
Implementing backward integration in the commercial fish farming sector by fish importers
This will boost the local production of fish. With the rise in consumption of fish products in Nigeria, one can only imagine how limitless the supply would be if the amount spent on importation is invested in the local production value chain.
Read also: Catfish farming management techniques
Well, every aspect of life comes with a challenge, some little, some large.
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