A successful fish merchant in Kwara State, Mr. Babatunde Salami, has said that the business of fish farming, especially at Odore, is money spinning.
Salami, revealed that fish farmers located at Odore, on the bank of River Asa in Ilorin, make about N800 million on a monthly basis.
His words: “On a daily basis, more than 30 buses of Catfish are loaded out of the farm to various towns including Osogbo, Makurdi, Abuja, Lafia and many others.
“Each of the buses containing 1,250 tons amount to about N800,000, which takes the daily sale out of Ilorin to about N24 million and on a monthly basis, it amounts to about N800 million.
“These form about 90% of the fish production in the area leaving the balance of 10% for local consumption in Ilorin.”
The Kwara State-born agro-preneur, was speaking at a webinar organised by the Ilorin Emirate Stakeholders’ Forum on “Entrepreneurship and Empowerment.”
Mr. Salami, who retired as a Senior Management Staff of First Bank of Nigeria, started his fish farming about 20 years ago.
In the webinar chat, he said there are many opportunities and value-chain investments in fish farming, and that with as little as N50,000 someone can venture into the profitable business.
The webinar was anchored by Dr. Yusuf Lawal, a Director at the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), who said the platform is not a talk-shop, but, rather meant to help the army of unemployed youths to get involved in profitable businesses, under the guidance and support of practitioners.
Salami, added that Nigeria’s annual fish consumption is estimated at 3.3 metric tons, which translates to about N.55trillion.
He said fish importation into the country gulps about N1 trillion, and that Nigeria only produces about 1.2 metric tons of fish which amounts to N550 billion.
He explained that, the challenge is therefore for the country to produce about 2.2 metric tons of Catfish being imported into the country, to save foreign exchange and also to create employment.
According to Mr. Salami, only about five percent of the fish farmers at the Odore fish farm are indigenes of the Emirate.
He said there are abundance of opportunities for many indigenes to get involved without displacing any of the existing farmers.
The retired banker turned fish farmer, listed the value chains and areas of involvement in the business to include sale of land and lease of ponds, catfish breeding and creation of hatchery, where fingerlings and juveniles are produced, locally produced or floating feeds, distribution and marketing, transportation, drying and smoking of fish for local consumption, together with the export and training of farmer workers.
Another discussant, Mr. Nasir Abdulqadir, also a retired banker with FCMB and currently a training consultant, spoke about the various ways of sourcing and securing funds for businesses, especially for agricultural businesses such as fish farming.
He listed the sources of funding to include bootstrapping, self-funding, friends and family, angel investors, partners, venture capital, banks and many others.
Abdulqadir, said the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Bank of Industry (BoI), is encouraging Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and other agricultural businesses, with non-collateralised loan.
He advised interested persons to apply for the CBN/NIRSAL loan which is less risky.
In his remark, Dr. Lawal, encouraged wealthy members of the Ilorin Emirate to diversify into fish farming business.