The present state of economy in the country is not helping catfish farmers in the area of profitability. You probably have not heard that the prices of floating feeds have gone up because you don’t have small fishes. The cost of 72 percent fishmeal has almost doubled compared with what was obtainable in the last four years. In fact, the most discouraging part of my story is that you may not get customers for catfishes above 1.3kg except you are ready to sell on credit.
Recently the price of catfish in the market started depreciating, only God knows what the price will be tomorrow. Catfish is now cheaper than other imported iced-fishes. In my opinion, the drop in the value of the Naira should have been a plus to local fish farming but some of the most important inputs in catfish feed production are imported. The higher the value of the Dollar to the Naira, the higher the cost of these imported inputs. Catfish farmers should also bear in mind that the purchasing power of an averaging Nigerian is reducing by the day due to non-payment of salary and general economic performance. I do hope things will get better. Anyway, before then, catfish farmers must learn how to use quality local fishmeal as a substitute to other imported fish meals. However, if care is not taking, you might end up buying something else in the name of local fishmeal. Then, how can farmers identify good and quality local fishmeal? Here are some tips:
- Quality local fishmeal can be identified by how it smells. Anyone with good sense of smell can easily differentiate between the aroma of dry fish and other edibles.
- Catfish farmers should not depend on smell alone because fish oil and fish perfume can be used to make any material smell like fish. You will need to examine the contents of what you want to pay for. At times, it could be fish heads and bones packed in the sack. From experience, the flesh of dry fish is better than any part of its body even when they don’t smell well.
- You can also use weight to determine how good a local fishmeal is. Bags of local fishmeal become heavier when the content is mixed with sand and other particles. You need to see how local fishmeals are blend with other particles that look like dry fish.
- It might be very difficult to identify how good a grinded local fishmeal is with smelling, observation or weight. The only way to ascertain the quality of grinded local fishmeal is through laboratory test.
I will also like to share this piece of additional information with you in this article. An experiment was performed in three different farms on performance of catfish without the use of fishmeal in their feed. Poultry and feather meal were used as replaced for fishmeal at an inclusive rate of between 18-25 percent. At the end of five months when those fishes were cropped, there was no significant difference between catfishes that were fed with fishmeal and those fed with alternative to fishmeal. In fact, an average performance in one of the farms was 1.6kg in five months. I believe that there will be better ways to culture catfishes in tropical Africa in the nearest future. You can also share your experience with us on this blog. Thanks for following this blog.