Profit Function Approach In Catfish Production in Nigeria

 

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The growth of a country’s population is usually accompanied by increases in the demands for the basic necessities of life including water, food and shelter. This is the case with the unrestricted increases in the demand for protein rich food items of animal origin especially.The Food and Agriculture Organization, recommended that an individual takes 35 grams per caput of animal protein per day for sustainable growth and development. However, the animal protein consumption in Nigeria is less than 8 g per person per day, which is a far cry from the FAO minimum recommendation. The major animal protein sources in the country include cattle, goats, sheep, poultry and fish. Out of these sources fish and fish products provide more than 60% of the total protein intakes in adults especially in the rural areas.Therefore, the importance of the fishing industry to the sustainability of animal protein supply in the country cannot be over-emphasized. Regrettably, the supply of food fish has been on the decline. This is due to consistent declines from the country’s major source of food fish, the artisanal fisheries, from 90% in 1990 down to 40% in 2006 resulting toabout 300,000 metric tonnes (Global Agriculture Information Network GAIN, 2007).

Currently, domestic fish production is put at 551,700 metric tonnes as against the present national demand of about 1.5 million metric tonnes estimated for 2007. The shortfall is said to be bridged by the importation of 680,000 metric tonnes annually consuming about N 50 billion in foreign exchange that the only way of boosting fish production and thereby move the country towards self-sufficiency in fish production is by embarking on fish farming especially catfish farming.

This has prompted the Federal Government of Nigeria to package the Presidential
Initiative on fisheries and aquaculture development in 2003 to provide financial and technical assistance to government programmes and projects encouraging fish production. Similarly, the Anambra State government initiated and agricultural micro credit support scheme with fisheries basis in order to compliment the Federal Government effort.

Regardless these efforts of Government, fish production has remained low in the country as well as in Anambra State. This has been attributed to inadequate supplies from the local catfish farmers due to the use of poor quality catfish seeds, inadequate information, high cost of feeds, traditional techniques, small size of holdings, poor infrastructural facilities and low capital investment

Greater improvement in catfish production can be achieved with a proper analysis that will lead to knowledge of the level of profitability of catfish farming and constraints to production which constitute the basis for this study.

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