Over recent weeks as the cost of basic foodstuffs rockets across Nigeria, the fish of fishmeal has skyrocketed too. Hike in prices of feed has forced some fish farmers out of business and some of them who are still operational described the development as worrisome and called on government to ensure price stability in the industry.
Lagos supplier Skyretting Feeds increased the price of a bag of its 2mm feed to N8,000 (£27.35) from about N5,000 in the first month of June. Farmer Emmanuel Ogharegbe, said that many of his colleagues had since abandoned the business due to arbitrary hike in feed prices, which did not translate to an increase in the price of fish as traders operated a cartel that frustrate this.
Another fish farmer, Josephine Obi, added:“On June 1, I received a text message from a woman who was selling feeds to me announcing an increase in the prices of feeds. Early this year, Coppens Feeds increased its price and we shifted allegiance to Skyretting Feeds but now, the price of our new brand has increased by more than 50%."
Olushola Ogundele, another fish farmer, who decried the hike in feed price, appealed to the federal government to come up with a policy that would ensure price stability in the agricultural sector. He said that government’s intervention was critical to forestalling the scarcity of catfish in the country. Joseph Makinde, a fingerlings producer, added that imported feeds were critical in raising fish in the early phase of their life. Chief Tayo Akingbolagun, the president of the Catfish Farmers Association of Nigeria, had on January 11 told fish farmers to shun Coppens Feeds, over its arbitrary hike in prices.
According to Chief Akingbolagun, the 50% increment in the price of Coppens 2mm feeds, was a reflection of the company’s unfriendly posture in the market. He said that the 2mm Coppens Feeds being sold for N5,000 suddenly increased to N7,500 during the Christmas period, which put many farmers into difficulty.