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Scarcity of quality feeds may widen nigerias fish import bill

Industry players said feeds scarcity, occasioned by inability of the local feeds to meet up with the demands of fish farmers, and forex volatility, have constrained importation, forcing prices of fish to hit the roof tops, while also hurting Nigeria’s fish farming business.

June 15, 2016

Nigeria’s target of achieving self-sufficiency in fish production is being hampered by scarcity and high cost of quality feeds, which threatens to widen the country’s annual import bill of N125 billion.

“The biggest challenge fish farmers face is high cost of feeds,” Gbola Akande, executive director, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, told BusinessDay.

“There are three areas of fishing in Nigeria: the industrial, which is the trawlers owners; the artisanal, small- scale farmers that ply their trade with canoes; and the aquaculture. Right now, it is only aquaculture that can boost local production because of the problems with the waters now,” he said.

Nigeria’s total annual fish demand is estimated at 2.7 million metric tons (MT), while the country produces only 810,000 MT, leaving a gap of 1.89 million MT annually. This yawning gap is filled with fish imports of N125bn (US$625m), which erodes Nigeria’s chances of diversification in the face of FX scarcity.

Nigeria’s per capita fish consumption is 11kg, which is significantly lower than the global average of 21kg and just less than the estimate of 13.5kg for Côte d’Ivoire.

Industry sources told BusinessDay that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development only issued permits to fish importers to bring into the country about 520, 000 metric tons of fish this year.

In March, the Association of Indigenous Seafood Stakeholders of Nigeria hinted at a possible fish scarcity in the short to medium term.

FBN Quest said in its recent report that the slowdown in the rate of expansion of the fisheries segment mirrors the macro challenges for the economy as a whole.

“The national accounts for Q1 2016 show that the fisheries segment grew by 3.3 percent year-on-year, compared with 7 percent posted in the corresponding period of 2015,” the FBNQuest said in its recent report, centring on boosting domestic fish production.

Industry players who spoke to BusinessDay said feeds scarcity, occasioned by inability of the local feeds to meet up with the demands of fish farmers, and forex volatility, have constrained importation, forcing prices of fish to hit the roof tops, while also hurting Nigeria’s fish farming business.

They add that this development could threaten investments along the fish value chain, since more people are coming into the sector.

“We don’t have the companies that are producing feeds in Nigeria. Only one company produces feeds in Nigeria within the capacity of what is required,” Matthew Anaedobe, chairman of Abuja-based Baragoni Fish Farm Estate told BusinessDay.

Source: AsokoInsight / Read original story

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