Some local fish farmers have hinted at their decision to shut down fish production in order to boost produce profitability and regulate their market.
The farmers stated their intentions in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
Mr Okon Amah, a fish farmer in Akwa Ibom state, lamented how the increasing price of fish feed had grossly increased their cost of production.
According to him, the farmers in “other states in the nation will join their Oyo state counterparts, who have already begun the protest to regulate the prices of produce instead of allowing buyers to determine the price.
“We, the local fish farmers, are threatening to go on a nationwide strike, because of poor fish price due to increases in the cost of fish feed.
“This growing increase in the cost of fish feed is affecting the profitability and productivity of our local fish farmers hence the need for the strike.’’
The fish farmers in Oyo have embarked on a strike in order for us to be the sole determinants of the prices of our produce, but others are yet to join in the strike.
“Other states like Lagos and Delta states are gearing up to join them in order to boost profitability, as the cost of fish feed keeps increasing.
“Fish farmers are lamenting and want to shut down their production so that they can now determine the price of their produce,” Amah said, adding that most middlemen in the fish sector want the farmers to sell at low prices, while they continued to sell at a higher price.
He said that the buyers seemed to have a stronger voice in determining fish prices, hence fish farmers need to come together with one voice, to determine the price.
On his part, Chukwuyere Ekeledo of Magnicial farms, Owerri, Imo state noted that the farmers were planning a protest strike because of the incessant increases in the price of fish feed.
“Every other week we have observed increases in the price of fish feed, so we farmers also want to increase the prices of fish.
“We are not enjoying the profit or business aspect of fish farming, we just concentrated on production so far but our buyers have built a formidable market for themselves.
“Local fish farmers and their middlemen need to meet together and reach an understanding in determining the price of fish from farms.
“Although we may incur some extra cost if we embark on the protest because of the continuous feeding of our fish without sale, but it is a risk we need to take.
“The strike is a sacrifice we are making so everybody will be carried along, because if only one side of the value-chain is happy with sales and the other is not, the aquaculture sector will not grow.
“Whether the middlemen or consumers will be able to accept this price increment is another issue. It is a very pathetic situation for local fish farmers presently,” Ekeledo said.
Mr Lai Mustapha, a fish farmer in Lagos state, said the strike was a welcome idea as it will help fish farmers rein in the market in their favour.
“The proposed protest strike of local fish farmers is a welcome idea, it will help the us determine the price of our produce, although only farmers in Oyo state have embarked on the strike.
“I encourage farmers to speak with one voice and make sacrifices that will help boost our trade. Other fish farmers in other states should take a cue from their Oyo state counterparts.
“These fish sellers just come up with their own prices to the detriment of the farmers. The cost of production is soaring, so local farmers must determine the price of fish.
“We need to come up with our own price tags and not sell at what the buyers want,” Mustapha said. (NAN)