This was confirmed in a statement made by the former President on Tuesday at the Congress of the South-west Fish Farmers Price Sustainability Group, held at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He said, “The price of diesel has gone high because the management of this country is not what it should be.”
“The constant increase in prices of fish feeds will eventually run Nigerian fish farmers out of business.
The former President urged the fish farmers to agree on sustainable prices that would keep their business afloat.
He said, “The current price of diesel at 800 (naira) per litre, production of a kilogramme of fish is N1,400. In order to make very marginal profit, the farmers can’t sell less than N1,500 as anything short of that amounts to outright loss,” said the former president.
“The price of diesel has gone high because the management of this country is not what it should 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.
“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(indignant). So, what do we have to do? To come together…we want to sustain fish production and we must be able to take care of those who are going to eat and those of us who are producing.”
“How many of you are using diesel in your production? Because I use diesel and I’m already sweating. I’m already sweating.”
Mr. Amoo Tunbosun, President of the group, in his remark noted that Nigeria consumes around 3.6 million metric tonnes of fish annually, based on present figure, but only produces 1.1 million tonnes, leaving a balance of 2.6 (5) million tonnes to be imported.
He said, “This is the essence of this gathering, we find out that we have to take our destiny in our hands, we can’t continue to produce and be at the mercy of the buyers, we feel we need to come around and do something for ourselves. We are starting with South-west and in a matter of time it will be all over the country.”
The convener of the congress, Steve Okeleji, said the fish farmers have decided to come together to rescue the industry. He noted that Nigerian farmers deserved an audience from the Government and stakeholders in view of prevailing circumstances.