Mr Eteobong Amah, an Aquaculturist, has identified the challenges of aquaculture farming in Nigeria as capital intensiveness, increasing fish feed cost and poor expertise.
Amah, a Marine Farming Entrepreneur, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Thursday.
The farmer said the bottlenecks faced in the aquaculture farming system had hindered the growth of the sector in the country.
“The challenges currently plaguing aquaculture farming in the country include intensive set up capital, cost of fish feed and poor expertise.
“Aquaculture is a capital-intensive venture; even if a farmer wants to start small, he is still going to put in a lot of money to start up a fish farm.
“One major challenge in going into aquaculture business is the bottleneck we face when it comes to accessing grants and loans.
“For instance before a farmer is able to set up a farm and raise 1,000 fishes comfortably, you need to have nothing less than N1 to N1.5 million.
“The farmer needs to invest extensively on the fixed assets on the farm like the pond and the boreholes and others, hence the cost-intensiveness to start up,” the farmer said.
Amah also spoke on the increasing cost of fish feed which in turn did not allow local fish farmers to get returns on their investments.
According to him, another challenge in the aquaculture business is that 50 per cent of the farmers’ expenses are allocated to procuring fish feed and the cost of fuel in running the boreholes in the farm.
“The problem is that the prices of fish feed keeps getting increased but the price of cultured fish remains constant, causing the farmers to run short.
“Recently a major cluster of fish farmers shut down operations while protesting the increasing price of fish feed while the prices of fish remains same thereby affecting their return on investment.
“The cost of feed production is on the increase. Maize, soya beans, Groundnut Cake (GNC) and fish meal have all increased,” Amah said.
He said the problem of lack of expertise in aquaculture was another major challenge while he called for more people to come in to learn aquaculture farming system.
“We need people to be trained in aquaculture because climate change actually affects cultured fish. So fishermen are not catching enough fish from our seas or rivers hence the fall back on cultured fish.
“We have a lot of novices in aquaculture today. Some people get into the business just by being a motivational speaker that say they can put a fish into a pond and harvest a river after five months.
“People need to be trained in aquaculture farming because according to experts’ projections, in few years’ time, one-third of protein consumed by humans will be gotten from farmed fish.
“In the next 10 years, one-third of protein eaten by humans will be coming from farmed fish and not captured fish.
“This simply means the aquaculture industry needs to be boosted to meet up with the predicted protein demand so as not to create a gap in protein deficiency,” he said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
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