’Ibadan fish farmers killing our business’
Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) in Edo State, are set for cash harvest, as the government has increased the take-off loan from N2billion to N10billion to boost middle-income earners and job creators.
The Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, Emmanuel Usoh, disclosed this when at the opening of a meeting of private investors with representatives of Federal Government regulatory agencies, and members of the Edo Export Cluster in Benin-City, to brainstorm on the exportation of agro-allied and other non-oil products in Edo state.
In a related development, Usoh said the State Government is ready to create enabling the environment to boost the businesses of over about 187 fish farmers operating from Uteh community in Ikoba-Okha local government area of the state.
The Commissioner assured them of government’s support in the area of guaranteeing loans for them, adding that the various investment drives by Governor Godwin Obaseki, are to enable them to sell their products and make good money.
But the catfish farmers decried the influx of catfish from neighbouring states, especially Oyo, saying the catfish brought into the state from Ibadan, are sold at reduced prices, thereby making it difficult for them to make profits.
Chairman of the catfish farmers, Franklyn Obamonyi, said it was regrettable that many rich men in Nigeria preferred to eat croaker fish that are imported, instead of catfish that are locally produced.
Obamwonyi said apart for the influx of fish from Ibadan, other problems facing fish farmers in the state was the inability to buy feeds and therefore, deeded support in this regard.
His words, “For Ibadan fish farmers to bring products here is a great loss to us. I know in Nigeria we have the right to sell anywhere but Ibadan fish farmers can sell at any cost.
“They do not care whether they are making a gain or not. It was not good for us. When we were selling a kilo of fish for N650, they were selling at N500. They have proximity to raw materials and feed. We are believing that when the Gelegele project comes on board, we will make huge sales.
“What we need is the feed. We want to guarantee you that we can pay back. We can create over 3,000 jobs by training young graduates. Edo will be a super hub for fish production in the south-south region.
“We will be happy if you can get feeds to us. We are willing to partner with you. We don’t want the money but the guarantee for the supply of feeds. We will be happy if we can get a mill for processing fish feeds in Edo.”