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DAILY TRUST Tuosdoy, Soptombor4, 2012 21


AG"RICULTURE DB03 76 1841 1 (TextOnly)

'Lack of fingerlings, major hindrance to fish farming in Nigeria' IGERIANS are large eonsume~ offish and It remains one of the main products consumed in terms of animal protein. Study has shown that only abou t 50 per cent of demand for fish is cu rrently being met by local supply Ind that provides direct and indirect employment to over sil: million people. Despite the popularity of farming in Nigeria, the fISh farming Industry can best be described as being at the infant Slage when compared to the large market potential for its produc tion :md marketing. This is mainl y due to unavailabili ty of fingerlings owing to lack of adequate infrastructure for hatche ri es for fingerling production. Fish farnlers who spoke wi th ou r co rrespondent maintained that if the federal government proVides adequate production of fingerlings and juvenile fISh 10 bridge the su pply gap in the national demand to that of the in ternational demand, Ihe co untry can produce more fish and wiD be able to also aport fish to o ther countries. A major Kaduna based fish fanner, Mohammed San! said Nigeria spends about N50 billion on fish importation annually to meet il5 yearly fISh d emand o f 1.5 million IOns eYen when it can only boast or producing 500,000 tons oC fISh which is only one thi rd of the fish needed in the I . He said th e


importation of flsh {rom foreign

counuies when they could M rear~ in Nige ria. has adverse effects on the country's foreign reserve. Mohammed Sanl who was

a ban~r before he rctirtd and b«ome ill fuU time fish farmer, disclosed thai he decided to go inlo fish farming beca use he realized ht was not making enough savings as a banke r at

the end oflhc day. -As a worker then I woke up as earl y as Sam so that J can leave the hOUR cul y enough to get to th e office

before/am. eTG run this busin~ successfully is not usy; I had to quit my job beause it requires

a lot aftimc. 1 have been In this business for 3 years now and I

can say J don't have any regrets far; he disclosed Speaking o n the challenges. hcwid, -There are lots of


( halleoges in this business. finance is my greatest challenge. I started with as low as NIO,OOO though today my businCSl has grown I still spend so much on o ther area hut nOI 85 much as when compared to livestock.. When compared with livestock, investigation shows it requires less space, time, money OInd has a higher feed conserving rate.On the factors militating against fish fa rm ing. he said water, light, weather and r~ingsof the fingerlings are (If greatimporlance at the beginning. - These fishes requ ire lots o f allention and feeding at the initial slage but this becomes difficult when there is no light

money to buy their feed.. When the ..... eather is very hot, most of them die and most of them tend 10 fCfli o n themselves just to su rvh'~ Aside from Ihese challenges. the gains are much; he said. He identified major constninl5 to fISh farming 10 indud e Lhose o f environmental impacl5 of aq uacult ure operations thai include water pollution, inadequate supply of fingerlings. inadequate informatio n and reed supply. Howeve r, Chairman oCGamji Gate fish market , Alhaji Tala Nuhu, said fISh farming Is not capital intensive because one can rear fish In lan ks or enclosures, usually for food o r commercIal purpose. He emphasiud that the most common fish species raised by fish Carmers in Nigeria are ca rp. tilapia, Asa and catfish. He said fish farm ing is an ancient trade many profitable that can


commercial basis has pro"en

to be economically 5uccCSlful throughout the country today. ") have been In the flsh business forover 37 years and this particular fish muket has o\'Cr IOOpeople gainfully employed by the trade. It is a "ery lucrative business If a person can devote his lime to taking care of the fish because they n~ a lot of atten tion iCnot they sian dyirig~ he said. He said for the 37 years he has been at the market selling fish, he has never rcceh·ed any contribution from the government, adding that if the gO\'ernmenl had assisted fish farmers and sellers In the area with loa n, fish business could h ave upanded positively. He said th ough th e price depends o n how big the fISh is, the price ran!e from NISO to NJOO. He cal ed on government to dweU more o n the tra de as it is ca pable of securi ng .mplo"";.n. for the teeming