The importance of market information in agriculture and agro-industrialization can never be overemphasized for farmers, especially catfish farmers that are profit-oriented. It has to do with the process of obtaining, analyzing and usage of information related to prices of inputs and outputs as well as general information related to farmers. Having the right market information helps farmers to take certain decisions that may help them maximize and optimize profit in their businesses.
In an inflation-threatened economy, catfish farmers can only do better by monitoring market information related to prices and demand and supply of their produce. As a matter of fact, their farming season can be adjusted to the period when they can get better price of input and sell at higher price.
A catfish farmer will need to gather information in the following areas of his business to enhance performance as related to profit:
1. Information on price of inputs: In many developing economies, the price of input does not determine the price of output of many agricultural produce including catfishes. This is due to the fact that structures are not in place to subsidize either the cost of input or output when necessary, leaving farmers at the mercy of market mechanisms of demand and supply. Hence farmers should constantly seek information on price of input and buy when most of these inputs are at their record lowest in the year: This period is a time when there is mass harvest, since most of the inputs for catfishes are farm produce. Information at your fingertips about the price of input can help you to maximize profits since catfish farming is season-in-season-out business depending on the location of your business.
2. Information on price of outputs: Just like the price of inputs, the price of output in catfish farming is also not stable. In fact, the price of output may fall when the price of input is at record high. However, market information will help farmers to take the right decision of selling at the right time. Information on Nigerian catfish market shows that the price of catfish is always favorable to farmers between January and June of each year. Ironically, this is the time farmers get competitive price of inputs. Within this period of six months, Nigerian catfish farmers can produce twice e.g. between July and January and January and June.
Also on market information of outputs, catfish farmers must not limit themselves to one customer. Information about good customer should be sought wide enough to get the best from their sales. The best buyer for small size catfish might not be the best buyer for extra large catfish. Make sure you do your assignment well before offering your fishes for sale.
3. Information on demand and supply: Information on demand and supply of table-size catfish may also help catfish farmers to maximize profit. Basically, during a certain period of the year, especially during festive seasons, there is always an increase in demand for catfish. Farmers should watch out for the following indicators for increase in demand for catfish:
- When many buyers call to ask for fish
- When buyers are ready to pay in advance for your table-size fishes
- When demand is not affected by increase in price
- When buyers are ready to buy all sizes of the produce
- When new buyers come into the catfish market
- When the dry season reach its peak
However, when demand for catfish drops:
- Buyers becomes selective about sizes to buy i.e. when there is selective demand for certain sizes of catfish
- Many buyers fade out of the business
- Demand is not backed up with cash i.e. credit purchase
- Price drop almost every week
- When appointments by buyers are not honored