Engaging Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises in the Culture Fish Value Chain within Niger State, Nigeria.
This study investigated the participation of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the cultured fish value chain in Niger State, Nigeria, with a focus on socio-economic characteristics, income disparities, influencing factors of profitability, and constraints faced by different SMEs. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select a total of 216 respondents, comprising 79 producers, 75 processors, and 62 marketers, who were administered questionnaires and interviewed face-to-face.
The results revealed that the mean age of producers, processors, and marketers was around 42 years, indicating a relatively mature and experienced workforce. Male representation dominated in the industry, with 93.8% of producers, 68.0% of processors, and 71.2% of marketers being male, reflecting a gender disparity in participation. The average household size for producers, processors, and marketers was approximately 7, 7, and 8, respectively.
Education levels were generally high among the cultured fish actors, with most having at least a first school leaving certificate, enabling them to adopt new innovations. The average farming experience for producers, processors, and marketers was 11.4 years, 10 years, and 8 years, respectively, suggesting a reasonable level of expertise within the value chain.
The cost and return analysis indicated that cultured fish farming was a profitable venture. Producers recorded a gross margin of ₦176,113.89 and a net profit of ₦123,096.91 per 1000 stock/production cycle. Processors obtained a gross margin of ₦51,239.00 with a net income of ₦32,260.09 per 100 kg, while marketers achieved a gross margin of ₦26,564.80 with a corresponding net income of ₦25,351.40 per 100 kg.
The study also conducted a pair-wise t-test to assess the differences in profit margins among producers, processors, and marketers. The results indicated significant differences between producers and processors but no significant difference between producers and marketers. However, there was no significant difference between processors and marketers in terms of profit margins.
The major constraints faced by actors in the cultured fish value chain included a lack of ready market, shortage of ponds’ water, poor extension services, high cost of fingerlings, poor market information, limited access to credit with high interest rates, and lack of storage facilities. Additionally, challenges in fish pricing, unstable prices, and inadequate transportation facilities were experienced in the marketing segment.
The study concluded that cultured fish farming played a crucial role in increasing shelf-life and creating new market opportunities for producers, contributing to job creation and reducing rural poverty along the value chain. Recommendations were made for the government to improve rural infrastructure and utilize extension agents to facilitate knowledge and technology transfer to farmers.