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Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has lamented the adverse effect of Nigeria’s challenging economy on fish farmers.
The Former President said this on Tuesday in a keynote address at the congress of Southwest Fish Price Control Group held at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He noted that the rising price of diesel may plunge fish farmers into bankruptcy.
At the congress themed: “For our collective survival and profitability”, participants discussed challenges facing the aquaculture sector in the country.
Obasanjo in his address stressed that fish farmers have to come together to sustain their business amidst the tough economy.
He said, “If we don’t come together as an association, nationally, we will sink individually. If we come together, we will swim and survive together.
“And while we are working on coming together, I thought that the situation has aroused whereby we have to do something urgently.
“The price of diesel has gone sky high because the management of this country is not what it should to be. And it is as simple as that. Then, what will happen is that particularly those of us who have to use a bit of diesel in producing fish, we will completely go bankrupt, and when that happens, Nigerians will still have to eat fish.”
PLATFORM TIMES reports that Obasanjo noted that fish farmers also bear the brunt of the economy, noting that consumers depend on imported fish.
He said, “Fish production will be out of reach and then, people will be producing fish outside Nigeria and be dumping it here.
“And you will go jobless, poor and indigent. So, what do we have to do? To come together.”
He also advised that the group changed its name to “Fish Price Sustainability Group”, adding that, “we want to sustain in fish production and we must be able to for those who are going to eat and those of us who are producing.”
The congress included delegates from the Southwest region, Director of Fisheries, Mrs Victoria Ojelade among others.
Meanwhile, the convener of the congress, Steve Okeleji has stated that the fish farmers must the enlightened on the reality of the fish farming sector amidst the dwindling economy.
Okeleji noted that the farmers had come together to rescue their industry.
He said, “We have to come together to see how we can rescue our industry. It’s now very obvious to us that if we don’t do something fast, the aquaculture industry in Nigeria will be submerged.
“If everything were to be right with our economy, this congress wouldn’t have been necessary.
He noted that a communiqué will be issued after the congress to seek government intervention.
He added, “What we want to do here is to, at the end of the day, come up with a communiqué. We will be holding another congress very soon where we will be having ideas from different farmers who will be contributing. We will be doing that across the Southwest for now.
“We are going to come out with recommendations, and we are going to use the goodwill of Obasanjo, who also has a huge investment in the sector, for the government for them to help us.”
Also speaking, the President of Southwest Price Sustainability Group, Amo Tubosun Amo, on his part, called on the government to make dredges within the farming settlement to avert flooding.
Tubosun recalled that in recent times, some fish farmers in Ogun State lost about N500 million in investment to flooding.
He further noted that there was a deficit in fish production in the country, urging government to intervene to bridge the gap.
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