A local catfish farmer, Mr Anthony Hammed, has appealed to law enforcement agents to allow dealers in the produce access to farms in Lagos.
He said catfish was among the edible commodity which President Muhammadu Buhari exempted it’s dealers to operate in his recent nationwinat broadcast signalling the lockdown to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in Lagos.
Hammed, the Chief Executive Office of Simple and Standard Farm Resources, Ejigbo, Lagos made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
He decried the restriction of movement of catfish dealers and farmers, noting that the situation was impacting negatively on the sector.
He noted that farmers in parts of Lagos and Ogun now record low patronage due to the inability of the stakeholders to move due to the lockdown.
“Our customers cannot get access to the farms to purchase catfish in large scale, all we experience now is small buyers who make little purchases.
“The lockdown is equally affecting local catfish breeding because the demand is low as big farmers are just managing to keep the business,’ he said.
Hammed said catfish farmers were now smoking their products as keeping them in ponds amounted to more expenses due to feeds.
“Our buyers are complaining of lockdown which is making it difficult to reach the farms.
“Our earnest appeal is for government to grant permit to food dealers because if the current trend is not corrected it will adversely affect our economy,” he said.
Hammed noted that the problem was felt by most big famers in Lagos and Ogun as they connect each other via phone.
He further said that they were having harrowing experience in sourcing fish feeds and called on government to look into the manner security agents were enforcing the lockdown order.
“To even go and procure the fish feed, we face a lot of obstacles, the police will stop us, army, civil defence etc even with our identification cards, we need to tip them before they allow us to go.
“Even though the police are aware that farmers and agriculture personnel are permitted to go about their businesses, they still disturb us until we are ready to part with some money before they allow us to go,” he said.
He said if the relevant authorities should address the law enforcement agents, they will understand the danger the pattern of operation posed to the nation. (NAN)