“Nigerian fish farmers” The Tilapia and Aquaculture Developers Association of Nigeria (TADAN) on Tuesday condemned the release of Tilapia, a farmer’s species of fish, from the ban on imports of the federal government.
The National President of the association Remi Ahmed expressed dissatisfaction with the association with the list in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)) in Lagos.
Mr. Ahmed said that the omission from the official restricted list by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) will send a negative signal to the international community.
He said that the Nigerian model of Tilapia agriculture is now valued all over the world, and this will mean unregulated imports of this commodity to slow down local production.
“This happens when the international community is satisfied with the level of work done in the subsector of Nigeria in Tilapia.
“For a short period of time, when Tilapia was introduced to Nigeria, we were able to develop and provide food to Tilapia in a country that is better than those that are used in most African countries.
“Let the government stop importing Tilapia into the country, because after that contraband Tilapia will not allow local producers to acquire ready-made markets.
“The restrictions on the importation of Tilapia are even small, we want a direct ban, because we produce a lot, and we can meet the deficit of Tilapia if we give the right playing field,” Mr. Ahmed said.
The president also told the NAS that he had more than 10 tons of Tilapia farm stored in cold rooms because smuggled because of this violated the market price that it seemed that local production was expensive.
In the production of Tilapia in Nigeria, Mr. Ahmed said that there are larger farmers all over the country, and this development will persecute entrants and discourage current producers in the long term.
“I have no more than 10 tons of Tilapia waiting for delivery, and I’m one of the smallest producers, there are Ejide Farms and others, our fish stay too long with us.
“Some of us have invested so much money in the facilities where we are engaged in the agriculture of Tilapia. So, delete them now and start doing what? The cost of power and others are serious problems, so this is not encouraging.
“These importers of the goods use grants and other incentives from their countries, so when it brings fish, it’s very cheap.
“Here we do not have any support from the government, and this is its height,” he said.
Mr. Ahmed said that in 2017, NCS intercepted a 40-foot container containing Tilapia, and during the briefing informed the Nigerians that Tilapia was banned.
The investor, vice-president of TADAN, Nurudin Tiamyu, told NAS that the government should cooperate with real stakeholders in this sector in order to develop a road map for the development of farm fish in the country.
Mr. Tiami said that the aquaculture sector was besieged by people who were not known to fish farming, took decisions and made decisions on behalf of producers in real time.
Mr. Tihami said: “I see no reason why the Ministry of Finance implements a policy of importing fish, and the Ministry of Agriculture does nothing for the parties concerned.
“We have a stakeholder group, you did not meet with them and did not see your production capabilities, which means that the Nigerian government does not understand the problems that need to be addressed when it comes to food safety.
“We do not even know how much Tilapia is needed for consumption, we only know that we have 15 million tons of fish deficit.
“Withholding Tilapia from the list of import bans is not a good development, because we spent so much money on production and faced unforeseen environmental problems.
“If the insurance is not structured at the end of the day, you can not compete with what comes from China and other competing countries.
“Let the government meet with stakeholders and develop a road map for the development of farm fish, and the farmed fish is the only way to survive aquaculture in Nigeria,” said Tiyami Said.
Another farmer, Abiodun Adededzhi, said that the relevant parties had not been consulted properly before the decision was taken to strike out Tilapia from the list.
According to Mr. Adedeji, the decision is made without clarifying the impact on local fish producers.
“This is not a good decision, and I’m sure the ministry did not get the views of interested parties on this issue to find out how this exemption will affect the local fish producer.
“We are already confronted with the problems of market pricing as a result of imports through neighboring countries, which usually reduces the market price for Tilapia.
“While farmers in Nigeria produce higher production costs compared to the lower import price of the same products.
“This decision will affect the investment in the aquaculture of Tilapia by foreign investors.
“It is expected that the government will protect the industry by engaging with stakeholders, and encourage these importers to invest in local production in Nigeria,” he said.
Nan reports that the list of import bans in the NCS limits imports of items.