Catfish is one of the most expensive and most demanded farm produce in Nigeria, and reports also indicate an international demand for the pond produce.
Aquaculture Consultant, Mr Tajudeen Morakinyo, on Monday, advised catfish farmers to key into the international demand for the commodity, by packaging and exporting their produce.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that produce exporting would improve their income, grow their business to international recognition and also improve the nation’s agricultural sector.
The huge trade in smoked fish is a consequence of the growing demand by the increasing number of Africans living in the Diaspora.
The U.S. and Europe remain the major destinations for Africans, who venture abroad.
It is noteworthy that up to 40 percent of smoked fish exported from Africa is detained, returned or destroyed at the U.S. and European ports, due to improper packaging and labeling.
Morakinyo said that farmers needed to improve their farm practices, to tap into the available market for the export of smoked fish.
“First, the smoked and dried fish must be well-processed and preserved.
“If the fish is not smoked, using the right wood, charcoal or technique, it may end up with high levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH).
“These substances are considered by the U.S. and the European Union to be dangerous to human health and are claimed to cause cancer.
“Smoked fish consignments containing more than five micrograms per kilogram of these substances may not be allowed into the U.S. and the E.U.,” he said.
Morakinyo said that farmers needed to get in touch with relevant authorities, to understand their requirements and ensure that they are in compliance with paperwork and other prescribed conditions.
“If the fish still contains a considerable amount of moisture after drying and smoking, it’s very likely to attract insects and moulds.
“According to him, this development significantly reduces the quality of the products and the money you can make from them.
“Other common causes of seizure are incomplete documentation or improper labeling and packaging.
“You must ensure that you are aware of the required paperwork and work with the custom broker and importer, to ensure that everything is in place,” Morakinyo said.
With the current government’s campaign for “0 import to export” fish farmers have been advised to tap into the beneficiary exporting trades available in Nigeria