Cash Crunch: Catfish, Poultry Farmers Lament Low Patronage

Dike Onwuamaeze

Catfish farmers have lamented low patronage due to the cash crunch across the country occasioned by the cashless policy and naira redesign of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
On its party, the Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria (PAN) said its members lost more than N30 billion worth of over 15 million egg crates due to the naira scarcity in the country.

The Catfish farmers said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the weekend in Lagos.
The Chief Executive Officer of Simple Aquaculture and Standard Resource Farms, Mr. Anthony Hammed, lamented the low demand for catfish despite the acceptance of the cashless policy.

“The issue of low demand for catfish in recent times is of real concern to us.
“The people are no longer buying catfish; fishes are just in the water consuming feeds and increasing our cost of operation.
“Although we accept mobile transfers, we noticed that sales just dropped suddenly since the Naira scarcity.
“Even now, we are slashing our prices just to sell our products even though the cost of ingredients and fish feed is skyrocketing daily,” Hammed said.
He noted that despite the high cost of feed materials, they had to slash prices to stay in business.

“Groundnut paste (GNC) soya fish meal is getting very expensive now, and people are not buying.
“Just to sell, we have to drop the price, we do not break even, but we still have a little margin of profit with which we keep body and soul together and to be in business,” he said.

Another farmer, Mrs Kemi Egbucha, said many farmers had closed their farms due to low patronage.
“In fish farming presently, many farmers opt out of the trade due to increased fish feed.
“Most times when fish farmers order feed from companies, they have their supplies delayed for up to a month, resulting in losses.
 “We used to buy a bag of fish feed for N11,000 before but now it goes for as high as N20,600 per bag.
“Even at that, we still experience low demand,” Egbucha said.

On its part, PAN said its members lost more than N30 billion worth of over 15 million crates of eggs due to the effect of naira scarcity in the country.
The National President of PAN, Mr. Sunday Onallo-Akpa, made this known in a statement issued in Abuja.
“The poultry farmers in the country have lost over 15 million crates of eggs being unsold and are damaged; the average loss to the poultry industry as of this press release is more than over N30 billion,” he said.

Onallo-Akpa described the poultry industry in Nigeria as one of the most consolidated subsectors of Nigeria’s agriculture, contributing about 25 per cent of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) and employing over 25 million Nigerians direct and indirect.
He said the poultry industry had been a major employer of labour and a great source of financial empowerment and livelihood for many families, especially women, and youths.
“The industry is completely private sector driven, worth over N3 trillion,” he said, adding that it has contributed to the local domestication of investments in the country.
Onallo-Akpa, however, warned that the poultry industry was on the verge of total collapse and extermination because of the negative and devastating consequences of the new currency policy on the industry.

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