Kwara State is the largest producer of catfish in Nigeria, with farmers claiming that no less than 45 tons of fish loaded onto buses leave the state daily, the deputy coordinator of fish farmers in the state, Brig. Saidu Olasupo ( retired), has revealed.
Speaking to our correspondent at the state fish farmers’ meeting in Ilorin, the state capital, on Thursday, Olasupo said no fewer than 30 buses loaded with 1.3 tons of catfish each left the state every day.
The retired army officer who said that many youngsters have taken up fish farming in Kwara State added that its contribution to the state’s economy is huge.
Olasupo, who said he took up fish farming after retiring from Military Service, claimed that Kwara State is the largest producer of catfish in Nigeria, adding that the state ranks 10th in Africa.
He said, “Currently, we have 35 groups and each of the groups has a minimum of 50 registered members.
“Our contributions, both tangible and intangible, to the state’s economy are enormous. Every day we have no less than 30 buses loaded with fish and each with a load of around 1.3 tons leaving Kwara.
There is no family directly or indirectly that is not affected by this business that we are doing. Take the value chain for example. We have fish feed millers, major distributors, minor distributors and even the Olam Company etc.”
Speaking about the challenges farmers face, Olasupo said: “There is no business without challenges. There are challenges with the farmers themselves, as well as with the buyers of the product.
“The skyrocketing price of automotive diesel (diesel), premium motor alcohol (gasoline), aka gasoline, or even motor oil. Of course, if inputs increase, the price of output is expected to rise.
“However, the cost of production or inputs is increasing, but the increase in the price of the final fish itself is not proportional to the spiraling increase in the prices of those inputs.”
For coordination and effectiveness, he said that “fish farmers started registering with the state’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development last year. Very soon we will have enormous data that will be known to the government. This will allow the government to make informed decisions about how to help fish farmers.”
However, Olasupo called on the government to help fish farmers, especially by subsidizing the inputs fish farmers need and the adequate supply of water from their dams, since the success of fish farming depends largely on the availability of water. .