COVID 19: Catfish Farmers Lament on Losses due to Lockdown

Report by Dr Ezeme Udoakuchinyere Chimamanda

Fish farmers are the latest to cry out on the excruciating impacts of the current lockdown in the country occasioned by covid 19 pandemic. Thus the Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN) has appealed to the federal government to permit the free movement of fish, fish products and input materials to different parts of the country.

CAFFAN National President, Mr Rotimi Oloye while speaking to newsmen recently in Ibadan, stated that due to COVID-19 pandemic that have necessitated lock down, restricted movement and interstate border closure, to curb the spread of the corona virus, fish farmers has since then encountered difficulty in sales and distribution of fishes, fish product and fish farming inputs as well accessing their farms across the country, which has led to serious losses in the fish farming industry.

He warned of the serious implications the COVID-19 pandemic may have on food security as essential activities such as fish farming are being crucially affected. In his words “The movement restriction is adding to the cost of production that is already on the high side due to cost of exchange of naira to dollars used in importing more than 70 % of our inputs like fish meal, hormones, and other additives like lysine and methionine. The situation can make farmers to abandon farming thereby leading to threats of food insecurity”.

Mr Rotimi then urged the government to include the home grown fishes (fresh and smoked) as one of the palliatives being distributed to the masses since fish and its products have high nutritional values necessary to boost immunity. He also stressed on the inclusion of smoked catfish as a protein source in the diet of COVID-19 patients in Nigeria;

“Fishery  products are good in rebuilding damaged body cells, good food helps sick people to recover fast, fish also helps brain formation in babies; these are the kind of food needed for citizens at this time to fight COVID-19 “.

Furthermore, the CAFFAN president also appealed to the government to support families with good and balanced diets, especially in such a time like this and assist farmers with provisions of zero interest loans, provide cold room facilities for perishable foods like catfish, buy up farm produce that lack patronage due to restricted movements and financial constraints. He added that failure to take these measures could lead to starvation and anger amongst the populace. LIVESTONEWS.

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