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.
Surviving the effect of current economic situation in Nigeria on catfish farming investment involves conscious and coordinated efforts. Like I said in a recent article, returns on catfish farming investment have reduced drastically. This trend has been so obvious in the last two years. Yet there may still be more hikes in prices of catfish feed inputs, especially those from foreign countries. Just three days ago, there was news that the price of certain popular brand of floating feed has gone higher. This happens after three days of artificial scarcity. The price of a bag of that feed jumped from 4950 Naira to 7050 Naira. Mathematically, this is more than 40 percent increase within a period of one week. How can catfish farmers survive this?
I can still remember vividly when I started catfish farming. The inexperienced catfish farmer then can predict precisely the expected returns on his investment. The prices of inputs were relatively stable except for seasonal hike in prices of these inputs due to unavailability of good storage facilities. The sales value of table size catfish was fantastic. Many of us were proud to be called a FARMER. We always look forward to the day of harvest because we want to know if we were able to surpass our previous profit record. A lot of big boy farmers then were into catfish farming. Oh! What good business catfish farming was!