Importers worry as fish floods market

Importers of fish are currently struggling to sell off their products, a situation that has resulted in a drastic price crash in most markets across the country.

In an ironic twist of event, importers said they were given more than the quota they needed to import fish resulting in a glut.

In the last quarter of 2013, the Federal Government had disclosed plans to reduce fish importation in order to make way for increased production of locally bred fish.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, had at the inauguration of the Special Growth Enhancement Support programme in August 2013, said the importation of fish was not a good business for the country, given its huge natural resources.

“The normal value that we import at a particular time is between 500, 000 and 800, 000 metric tonnes and in the past 15 years, we have not imported more than 800,000 MT. But this time what the minister gave out as quota to be imported is 1.6 million MT,” an importer who did not want his name in print, was reported as saying by local media.

“There is serious glut and the allocation that the Federal Government gave was much. The minister said we had been over-importing and wanted to reduce import to encourage local production. Suddenly, he over-issued the quota than what we had been importing before, now, we have so much fish in the country and everyone is struggling to sell what they have,” the source added.

The quota that was issued is expected to end in December, but stakeholders say the prices are expected to remain the same by January 2015 and possibly beyond.

The Director of Fisheries, Federal Ministry of agriculture, Mrs. Foluke Areola, said the price crash was as a result of government’s activities to make fish available as a cheap source of protein.

“There is more fish in the market that is why the prices are going down. We are giving farmers fish fingerlings; we have empowered them to produce more fishes so from all sources where we get fish in the country, there is increase so the prices will go down,” she said.

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