Cat Fish smoking; a gold mine worth exploring

Posted by News Express | 11 April 2016 | 4,919 times

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Nigeria spends an estimated N125 billion importing fish per year. Decide on fish farming today and be a major player in the sector.

The present economic environment offers a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurship. Do not wait for the ideal situation to step out in your endeavour for a favourable business climate depends on entrepreneurship, rather than entrepreneurship depending on a favourable business climate. Complexity drives opportunity. Always be prepared to capitalise on crisis, therefore the topic of this write-up.

The history of fishing in Nigeria is as old as the traditional inhabitants of the riverine communities in the country; fish consumption is no less as old. The consumption has steadily grown over the years, obviously due to the nutritional value and perhaps its rich taste. Fish provides over one-third of the animal protein required by the human body; it is also a rich source of amino acid, vitamins and minerals.

Fish business in Nigeria is big both in size and in value. As at the year 2000, the Nigeria fish market was worth some N54 billion, with the average fish consumption being 10 kilograms per capita, according to figures from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Fifteen years down the line, the domestic fish market is worth far in excess of N150 billion and it is expected to grow far higher considering the tremendous growth of the nation’s population.

As would be expected, the global demand for fish has also been on the increase similar to what it is in Nigeria. Within a space of 40 years, global consumption moved from 27 million metric tonnes annually to 91 metric tonnes in the year 2000 and it is not expected to slide any lower than 320 million metric tonnes at the end of this decade.

With an estimated population of 160 million and almost 40 million households, Nigeria has a handful of mouths to feed. Surprisingly, domestic production of fish is far lower than the demand and over the years, excess demand has had to be filled by imports one way or the other. Even when fish imports had been officially restricted by government, corruption and collusion in very high places had always frustrated the very good intentions of the government. However, the present adverse forex position of the naira is bound to compel Nigerians to consume locally produced fish and fish products.

The immediate consequence of this adverse situation (the negative forex position of the naira) is well known – excessively heightened prices of the imported fish and its consequent crowding out by the locally produced ones, with the eventual beneficiary being the local fish farmers. This is the crux of the matter and the point here; opportunities abound for the local fish farmers at every point of the value chain – from production to rearing, to processing (smoking, canning, etc) and fish feed milling, among others. None of the value chain is less lucrative, but I choose to dwell on the processing here; for purposes of elaboration, the fish processing here being fish smoking and drying.

Consumption of smoked fish is quite pervasive among Nigerians and Africans. This obviously gives enough export dimension to the fish smoking aspect of the value chain. As a matter of fact, over 500 tonnes of smoked fish find their way to Europe and America annually from Africa (Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria, etc), Nigeria accounting for about 10 per cent of this. The country has far greater potential than this, more so with the current precarious earnings from the oil sector, where we need all the forex earnings we can get and equally all the savings in terms of forex we can make through import substitution; as we produce locally to replace importation. So decide on fish farming today and become a major player in the sector. For more enquiries and training opportunities send me an sms or e-mail. We will have an even more exciting discussion next week. Remain blessed.

•Lawrence Nwaodu is a small business expert and enterprise consultant, trained in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship from The Management School, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and MSc in Finance and Financial Management Services from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands. Mr. Nwaodu is the Lead Consultant at IDEAS Exchange Consulting, Lagos. He can be reached via (07066375847).

Source: News Express

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