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A MUST READ! Cost Of Feeds Runs Fish Farmers Down

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Mohammed Abubakar is the owner and Managing Director  of Sadiq Farms which is into various areas of agricultural production in Gwagwalada, Abuja. In this interview with Daily Trust he said his farm supplied 800,000 fingerlings (fish seeds) to Kano, Jigawa, Gombe and Bauchi states in the last six months and how the cost of feeds is grounding fish farmers.

Tell us briefly, what do you do here in this farm?
I am actually into fingerling production. I developed the idea a year ago after a discussion with the production manager, Dr. Bush Abraham, who encouraged me to go into hatchery.  We should look at the trend of feeding in the entire globe; there is less emphasis on red meat and beef. The emphasis now is either on chickens or fish. I have tested the birds which failed me and Iím still nursing the wounds, and I said okay, let me go into fish farming.
I have two ponds with about 8,000 fish that I have been feeding for the last 8 or 9 months. But the fingerlings production, I started only seven months ago. Thank God our test has proved to us that yes, we are producing good quality fingerlings, because we have supplied about 3 to 4 farms and our policy is to follow up with any farm we supplied fingerlings. We follow up to see how the fingerlings are performing. That one, we have made a cardinal principle because we will want to know what the shortcomings of our products are.
Even before we supply any farm with the fingerlings, once the quantity is above 6 to 7 thousand, we have to visit your pond to enable us assess and to see how ready your pond is.  We donít want to give you and then you go and put it in wrong ponds and start blaming us. We make sure that your pond is okay. By the time we supply you, weíre going to give you extra 200, 300 or 400 for safety. We would now follow up after every two weeks to see the mortality rate, so that we will be able to gauge whether we err in the cause of production or the fault is from your farm.

What is the production capacity of fingerlings in your farm?
In every production, I make a minimum of 100,000 fingerlings. It can go up to a maximum of 120,000.
The problem most farmers face in this country, especially those into fish and poultry farming is the cost of feeds,  which makes them sell at a loss. What is your experience?
 It is very true. For instance, I told you I have two ponds at the City Gate with about 8000 fish, which I have been rearing for the past 18 months. Actually, anytime I want to make my feed, I buy my maize from Gwagwalada, go to Kado fish market, buy other materials and take it to Mararaba where they will grind it for me, then I will go to Uke-Zimbabwe in Nasarawa State to flatten, dry them. You can imagine, I live in Gwagwalada, my farm is in Garki and I have to go outside to Nasarawa State to prepare feed and the production capacity cannot be more than one ton. Thatís why I said, look, I better buy the mill myself.
 I have already bought one which I am about to install. When I install it, Iím sure other fish farmers around will prefer to come here as it is within reach of FCT rather than taking it to Nasarawa State, because it costs you more.
I have to fuel my vehicle two times, N3,000 each, because of the production and you will find out that you are running at a loss. But you have to keep on because this is your trade and this is what people know you for. I believe by the time I and others that have similar interest develop this thing, we will bring down the cost of production, then everything will be okay. 

Do you consider taking an insurance policy for your farm?
Yeah, I have already approached National Agricultural Insurance Company, they came, they visited the farm, and they really gave me the assessment.   In fact, they have been calling me and my production consultant, Dr. Bush Abraham, to come and sign some papers. They are ready to bring in partners for me, seeing the capacity of my fingerling production. But I have been a little bit reluctant; I want to see how I can struggle on my own.

SOURCE: DailyTrust

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