The thriving stock fish business in Abuja

In Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the sale and consumption ‎of stock and dry fish is currently experiencing an extraordinary boom, Eunice Ogwagwu, a trader in the commodities in Garki modern market recounts her experience. ADEOLA TUKURU, reports.         ‎Reports have it that Fish farming in the country has been yielding tremendous result since the federal government announced Agriculture as a veritable alternative to crude oil ,urging Nigerians to diversify.   Many Nigerians, especially Eunice , a native of Imo state and also a graduate of the Imo state University now see fish farming, selling of stock and dry fishes as a lucrative business.    Eunice, in a chat with Business Starter, says stock fish sections are more than ever before, witnessing ‎increased patronage.    It will be observed that most homes are now preparing a lot more fresh fish soups and other assorted delicacies.   

According to her, while waiting to get a job , she would rather prefer to assist her mum in the business as he spend longer hours in the market now because the fishes are on high demand.    “Before now, we used to buy 15 big fishes at N16,000 – N18,000. The ones we used to buy for N19,000 before is sold for N55,000”  

Friday and Saturday patronage 

She said the days of high patronage ‎is usually on Friday, Saturday and also during the yuletide season, adding that soup ingredients has become very expensive because of the bad economy.    ‎Customers order for them in advance, but that depends on their respective weights. Big hotels and restaurants will start booking. They are also sold go traders who buy as much as they can. Big hotels buy over N7,000.   Eunice, said “weekends ‎is usually our season. That is when we make great sales. If the situation is good, restaurant operators buy more than N15,000 per day ”  
‎Fish preservation 

Speaking on the way the fishes are preserved, Eunice explained that they don’t sell dead fishes and even before smoking it.    According to her, her mother also own a fi‎sh pond and that they constructed a fishpond especially during the dry season, between November and December.    “In those months stranded fishes in shallow waters could be caught. If they are well ‎preserved in drums they might last as long as you change the water”.   Eunice, while giving tips ‎on fish ponds explained that it could be confined in an environment as long as a particular area could be barricaded for the fishes to be confined there.    On security of the fish ponds, she lamented ‎that fencing the pond was necessary to control human encroachment and make sure the fishes were in good health.    “Once you notice that the fishes are not eating and swimming ‎well, it means they are sick , one needs to call a doctor.   “Once some fishes are 30 per cent bigger, they can eat up smaller ones. We prevent loss by sorting bigger ones of the small sizes and putting them into different, bigger ponds”  
Need for government support 

She urged government ‎support for fish farmers, noting that this was sure to boost the economy.  The Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project has conducted a capacity building training for fish farmers, researchers and students in Niger and Kebbi states. The event focused on value chain concepts and analysis in the fish subsector brought participants from the private sector, government, research institutes, as well as three universities. Michigan State University (MSU) experts led by Dr. Tom Reardon and Dr. Saweda Liverpool-Tasie presented the current international best practices of using representative samples of key nodes across value chains to understand the structure, conduct and performance of value chains and their actors. The training sessions provided detailed steps to conduct such studies and empowered participants to apply these techniques for a more accurate and holistic perspective of various agricultural subsectors in Nigeria. The benefited institutions were Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero, Federal University of Technology, Minna and Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, Lapai working alongside farmers. The 4-day training exposed participants to the skills needed for proper data collection when basic information needed for developing a sampling frame is lacking.   How to start stock fish business   It is easy to start stock fish business in Nigeria. All you have to do is look around for an importer or big dealers in stock fish and buy from the individual.    Many of such dealers can be found at Onitsha relief market. There are assorted quantity of these fishes at ‎Aba and other big markets across in Nigeria, especially Southern part of the country.    Before you make your choice you should first do a feasibility study, during which ‎you will find out the type of stock fish that sells the most.    The stock fish will be sold in sacks. They are packed as a mix parts, whole, cod fish, middle cut, head parts depending on what is in high demand in your area.  The form you choose can also determine how much you end up ‎paying for the stock fish.   The business does not have to be costly. You can start with as little as N20,000. By the time you finish resettling the stock fish ‎, you can make double the amount you spent on purchasing it.   The best place to sell your stock fish is at a busy spot in the city or a busy market. You can also ask for market days of some towns in your area since more people come to these markets on such days.

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