Fish processors groan over activities of middlemen

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LAGOS – Some Lagos catfish processors have decried the activities of middlemen in the export of processed catfish, saying they were obstacles to the growth of the sub-sector.

The processors told the News Agency of (NAN) in Lagos the middlemen were the reason why some fish exporters quit the businessmen.

Mrs Adunni Omotayo, a catfish processor told NAN that exporters had resolved to sell produce locally.

Omotayo said that exporters no longer trusted contact persons who received the produce as they had been swindling processors.

is a problem in the sector right because processors no longer trust those who receive the products. They have formed the habit of running away with exporters’ money.

“The middlemen are supposed to sell the processed fish and refund the money to the exporters but these days, they do not do that.

“It simply means that processors have to travel themselves, because when we spend so much money here we do not get it back,“ Omotayo said.

Mr Jude Okwudili, another processor, suggested that the only way to avoid middlemen absconding with the processor’s money was for them to “buy off” the produce.

Okwudili suggested that Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) should collaborate to ease fish export processes.

“We depend mostly on middlemen to sell our products, so the best way is for them to buy the products outright from the processor.

“Middlemen also take away a good part of the profit from the sales of the products,“ Okwudili said.

Reacting to the challenges caused by middlemen, Mr Kehinde Ogunyinka, the state Project Coordinator of  the Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP) said:“Middlemen are silent operators in the chain of export.

“They create impediments to development; so I urge processors to ways to get approval and certification because there are appropriate ways to do so.

“It is also important for processors to do the right thing by meeting standards to get certification from NAFDAC, SON and the Federal Department of Agriculture,“Ogunyinka said. (NAN)