Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has said the skyrocketing price of diesel will make fish farmers stumble into bankruptcy.
Obasanjo decried that the state of the Nigerian economy was affecting the aquaculture sector, adding that fish farmers may ‘sink’.
Obasanjo said this on Tuesday, in a keynote address at the congress of Southwest Fish Price Control Group held at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Obasanjo, also a farmer, stressed that farmers in the country need to come together if they want to survive in the economy.
He said “If we don’t come together as an association, nationally, we will sink individually. If we come together, we will swim and survive together.
“And while we are working on coming together, I thought that the situation has aroused whereby we have to do something urgently.
“The price of diesel has gone sky high because the management of this country is not doing what it ought to do. And it is as simple as that. Then, what will happen is that particularly those of us who have to use a bit of diesel in producing fish, we will completely go bankrupt, and when that happens, Nigerians will still have to eat fish.”
Obasanjo further advised that fish farmers need to come together to avert looming economic disaster in the farming sector.
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He said, “Fish production will be out of reach, and then, people will be producing fish outside Nigeria and be dumping it here.
“And you will go jobless, poor, and indigent. So, what do we have to do? To come together.”
He also advised that the group changed its name to “Fish Price Sustainability Group”, adding, “We want to sustain in fish production and we must be able to, for those who are going to eat and those of us who are producing.”
Speaking at the event, one of the conveners, Steve Okeleji, explained that the essence of the congress was to enlighten the farmers on the economic reality of the fishing industry.
Okeleji added that recommendations would be made for the government intervention.
He said, “We have to come together to see how we can rescue our industry. It’s now very obvious to us that if we don’t do something fast, the aquaculture industry in Nigeria will be submerged.
“If everything were to be right with our economy, this congress wouldn’t have been necessary.”