Like I said in my last article, glut is a common experience in the catfish market. It has hindered the development of catfish farming to a great extent. With an estimated population of about 170 million people, glut in catfish markets in Nigeria is uncalled for irrespective of the season. I still believe that catfish farmers in Nigeria are producing far below what is needed. However, the influx of sea foods including fishes into Nigeria has reduced the demand for catfishes in the market. Apart from variety of tastes, imported fishes are relatively cheaper compared to catfish produced in the country. This is due to an enabling environment in the source country.
In this article I have few suggested solutions to unnecessary annual glut in the Nigerian catfish market.
- The importance of storage facilities to keep excess production of catfishes in peak periods of production cannot be overemphasized. Catfishes can be stored fresh in cold room or dried in oven to extend its shelf life. This will enable constant supply of catfish to the market in season and out of season.
- Encouragement of industrialization of catfish farming through interventions by Bank of Industry and other financial institutions. This will boost catfish processing factories to make the product dynamic in the market. Catfish can be processed to fishmeal to be used in poultry and other animal feeds that require fishmeal.
- Proposed Federal Government project to feed primary school pupils with egg and catfish produced within the country once a day nationwide is a welcome idea towards putting an end to catfish glut. Such projects should be extended to secondary and tertiary institutions within the country.
- Government should look into subsidizing the cost of catfish production either in cash or kind so as to make the product affordable to common Nigerians who are willing to have the taste of fresh catfish as often as possible.
- Opening of business links through bilateral trade agreements between Nigeria and other countries in need of catfish.
- Total ban on importation of imported fish will work miracle at ensuring glutless catfish market.