In recent times, dry fish traders in the federal capital territory (FCT) have never had it as good as many Nigerians now resort to eating less meat. For Grace Nwanfor, a dry fish trader at Kubwa modern market, the business is lucrative; Adeola Akinbobola, writes.
Fish farming in the country received a boost since the federal government announced agriculture as a veritable alternative to crude oil it thus encouraged Nigerians to take to farming enmass.
Grace Nwanfor in a chat with Business Starter says the fish subsector has more than before witnessed a boom in investment and increased patronage.
It has been observed that most homes now prefer preparing fresh fish soups and other assorted delicacies than the usual meat.
According to Madam Grace, as she is fondly called said that instead of sitting at home and waiting for her husband to provide for the whole family, she would rather prefer to assist her husband in the business.
She said she now spends longer hours in the market now because the fresh fishes are in high demand.
Prices of fishes
“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 N47,000”
She said the days of high patronage are usually on Fridays, Saturdays and during the yuletide season, adding that soup ingredients have become very expensive because of the bad economy.
According to her, customers order for them in advance, but that depends on their respective weights.
“Big hotels and restaurants will start booking. They are also sold to traders who buy as much as they can. Big hotels buy over N7,000.
“Weekends are our season. That is when we make great sales. If the situation is good, restaurant operators buy more than N15,000 per day,” she said.
How to preserve fishes
Speaking on the way the fishes are preserved, Madam Grace explained that they don’t sell dead fishes even before smoking them.
According to her, she owns a fish pond where they constructed a fishpond especially during the dry season, between November and December.
She said: “In those months stranded fishes in shallow waters could be caught if they are well. When they are preserved in drums they might last as long as you change the water”
Madam Grace 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.
She lamented that fencing the pond was necessary to control human encroachment and make sure the fishes were not only safe but in good health.
Challenges of fish
“Once you notice that the fishes are not eating and swimming well,it means they are sick, so 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,” she said.
She called on the federal government to support fish farmers, noting that this was sure to boost the economy.
FG on Feed the Future
It would be recalled that 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-days 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 a small scale fish business
Starting a business in Nigeria, whether small or medium sized, requires in depth planning and strategies.
To run a successful small-scale fish business, the business person needs to design a business plan, source for funding and officially register its business with the relevant authority.
The company should conduct market intelligence on how to run a fish business, and ensure that it has fulfilled all legal demands to operate smoothly.
Firstly, design a business plan to guide you in entering the market. Designing a business strategy enables you to survey the market structure, get an in-depth look into your business competitor, and determine the funds needed to start up your business. In the business plan, clearly identify your target market and a marketing strategy to penetrate the industry.
Secondly, a Memorandum and Articles of Association with a business lawyer is needed. The company’s external affairs and internal policy is outlined in the Memorandum and Articles of Association. The document is available in public domain and is a requirement for any registered company. As a small-scale fish business, it is wise to register your company as a private limited, where you have control over the transfer of shares.
Thirdly, determine your business name and countercheck with the Corporate Affairs Commission if the name is available. Fill out an application form by either visiting the CAC website or office to commence a name quest. The search takes at least two days and if the name is available then it is reserved.
Fourthly, authenticate the Declaration of Compliance (Form CAC 4). This document declares to the relevant authorities that all documents required are needed. The business lawyer fills the form from the Federal High Court and State High Court by the business lawyer. The process takes at least a day and the authenticate Declaration of Compliance form is given to the business proprietor.
Furthermore, register your company by surrendering all the official papers pertaining to integration to the Corporate Affairs Commission. All the documents are available from the CAC site. The official papers include the Memorandum and Articles of Association, Declaration of Compliance and Notice of Registered Address (Form CAC 3) among others.
Moreover, one should endeavour to file the incorporation fee with CAC to complete the registration process. The fee charged varies with the type of incorporation form submitted. The total fee charged is determined by the business structure and share capital of the company.
Also, file your taxpayer form with the tax office and find out the tax return the state expects from the company. Attach the certificate of Incorporation with the tax form. Find out from a tax professional the tax incentives applicable to your business. Tax incentives are an opportunity for small-scale fish businesses to survive.