A former President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday lamented high cost of diesel, feeds as well as exchange rate crisis as it affects fish production in Nigeria.
Obasanjo, who is a fish farmer, said he has been sweating because the high cost of diesel has been taking a toll on his fish production.
He spoke on Tuesday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during Southwest fish farmers’ congress held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).
Obasanjo noted that the rise in cost of diesel as well as constant increase in prices of fish feeds will eventually run Nigerian fish farmers out of business unless they come together to agree on sustainable prices that could be adopted to keep them in business.
According to him, farmers can longer produce at the mercy of the buyers who would come around to buy the fish for whatever amount that suited them without taking into account the effect of the current economic effect on the production of such fishes.
He explained that with the current price of diesel at 800 per litre, production of a kilogram of fish is N1,400, adding that, in order to make very marginal profit, the farmers can’t sell less than N1,500 as anything short of that amounts “outright loss.”
Obasanjo said: “The price of diesel has gone high because the management of this country is not what it should be. And it is as simple as that. Then, what will happen is that, particularly those of us who have to use a bit of diesel in producing fish, we will completely go bankrupt, and when that happens, Nigerians will still have to eat fish.
“Fish production will be out of reach and then, people will be producing fish outside Nigeria and dumping it here. And you will go jobless, poor and indigent. So, what do we have to do? To come together…we want to sustain fish production and we must be able to take care of those who are going to eat and those of us who are producing.”
The President of South-West Fish Farmers Price Sustainability Group, Amo Tunbosun Amo disclosed that the country currently consumes around 3.6 million metric tonnes of fish annually but only produces 1.12 million tonnes leaving a balance of 2.6 million tonnes to be imported.
Amo explained that one of the major challenges confronting the fish farmers is the continued increase in the prices of inputs in the production of fish and majorly the feed and the refusal of the buyers to buy the fish at commensurate price.
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