By Benjamin Omoike
To curb losses in their means of livelihood, the Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN), has appealed to the Federal Government for special permit to move fish and its products from various farms, to areas of need in the country.
Mr Rotimi Oloye, the CAFFAN National President, stated recently that due to restriction of movement of persons to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in the country, its members now have difficulties accessing their farms.
He noted that the farmers mostly affected, were those close to border towns, as they are denied passage by security operatives on the roads.
“This is adding to cost of production that is already on the high side, due to cost of exchange of naira to dollars used in importing more than 70 per cent of our inputs, like fish meal, hormones and other additives like lysine, methionine”, he said, adding: “This situation can make farmers to abandon farming, thereby leading to threats of food insecurity. As everyone is well aware, unless properly processed and preserved, fish has a very short shelf-life value.”
He added that the continuous restriction on the movement of fish farmers, would eventually affect players in the fish value chain.
He said: “The inability of fish farmers to have access to their farms would have a multiplier effect across the fish value chain. Without access to our farms, we won’t be able to purchase fish fingerlings. We won’t also be able to purchase fish feeds, which will have an impact on their sales and the business.
“Those whom we sell fish to, will also not be able to purchase this very important source of protein and nutrient. It could potentially lead to loss of employment, while people who have shown interest in investing in the fish farming, may lose interest.”
Furthermore, Oloye also advised the Federal Government to include processed homegrown catfish to the palliatives being shared to people, emphasising that fish and fishery products were nutritional foods because they contained adequate nutrients necessary to boost human body cells and immune system.