This study examines critically constraints to marketing fish and fish product by farmers in Afikpo north l. g. a of Ebonyi state. It has been observed that fish marketing in Afikpo north l. g. a of Ebonyi state urban is a lucrative venture. Although, fishes are marketed in different forms either as fresh, smoked or dried fish. Marketers have lots of challenges, which the researcher has tried to proffer solutions to as attested by the majority of the respondents. The researcher used primary and secondary methods of data collection to gather the needed data. The data obtained through questionnaires were presented in tables and analyzed using the simple percentage. The findings have also shown that factors which militate against successful marketing of fish in Afikpo north L. G. A of Ebonyi state are: price, bad infrastructure. The study recommends that Fish marketers should form a co-operative society to enable them obtain loan from financial institutions so as to expand their marketing activities. Government and private organization should encourage fish marketers by building an organized market and effecting free trade within the study area.
Marketing plays an important role in a market economy. The role of marketing as an incentive to fish production and productivity cannot be over emphasized. According to Chikwenwu (2005:12), the marketing of agricultural commodities in Nigeria involves various markets or exchange points. The number of exchange points depends on the nature of the point of production and that of consumption. If the marketing process is efficient, it will go a long way in providing sufficient food to the populace through the process of market mechanism Lawal, I. (2004:12). The influence of market mechanism on price to a great extent determines the amount of food which peoples can afford. The effect of marketing process is assessed by the ability of the market to create time, place form and possession utility. Since rapid preservation and transport became available in the 19th to 21st century fish such as poor socio-economic environment like access road, developed market, school for children etc, poor storage facilities and fish spoilage, effect on cost-returns of fish marketers, constraints of fish marketing such as transportation, Epileptic power supply in the cold room, high cost of fish, poverty, financial and processing problems. Idega, N. (2004:34), hunger and malnutrition remain amongst the most devastating problems facing the world poor and needy. About 80 to 90 million people have to be fed yearly and most reliable source of protein for many is fish, yet millions of people who depend on fish are faced daily with the fear of food shortage and Dittoh, (1985). With the population of Nigeria on the rise, there is a corresponding demand for fish consumption. Thus, there is the need for a suitable agricultural system to meet the increasing demand for food, and also maximize the utilization of the available limited resources without much wastage. Integrated fish farming is a diversified and coordinated way of farming with fish as the main target along with other farm products. According to Akinleye, (2004:12), despite the abundance of human and natural resources, Nigeria depends largely on importation to meet its fish consumption needs. Fish is one of the most diverse groups of animals known to man with more than 20,500 species. In fact, to many Nigerians on the coastal areas, creeks and rivers, fish is one of their major sources of protein which is essential for healthy human growth Downey, (1972:65). The shortfall has resulted in a low animal per capital consumption rate of 7.5 kg against the 13 kg recommended by the food and agriculture organization. Fishing is as old as mankind. It has been established throughout the world. Of the 36 states of the federation, nine are located on the coast with access to the Atlantic Ocean Kow, T. (2002:12). With this Scenario, the natural markets can technically be established at any place. In marketing, fish passes through various market participant and exchange pounds before they reach the final consumer. These market intermediaries are the whole sellers and retailers. Both play important role in the marketing system. Furthermore, due to the cumbersome nature of fish distribution channel, the local fish seller is faced with the problem of profit maximization Akanni (2007:12). Thus, the result is that activities in this sector are mainly dominated by private sector presence with little or no mobilization from the government. Therefore, any attempt used at improving a country’s marketing system has to start with a correct analysis of the problem. Fish is one of the best sources of protein food because of its balanced amino acids configuration, digestibility and low cholesterol level. To this end, the demand for fish has been on the increase. (Olukosiet al., 2007:53), hence, in 1981, 384000 tons of fish were consumed in Nigeria out of which 296000 tons were produced locally and the balance imported (FAO, 1989). Fish also contribute 6-8% of agricultural sector total contribution to GDP (FAO, 1989). The fishery sub-sector provides employment opportunities to many Nigerians including those involved in direct fish processing and marketing Amos, (1998). It is important to evaluate marketing systems of fish because they indicate how the various market participants are organized to accomplish the movement of the commodity from the producer to the ultimate consumer. Marketing of fish is not usually on the basis of fisherman to consumer. There are several middlemen in the link between producers (fishermen) and consumers (Adegeye, A. (1993:232). Therefore price of fish changes as it passes through middlemen such that by the time it reaches the final consumer, it has increased considerably. Since proper marketing of fish ensures that fish is made available to all and sundry, it therefore becomes imperative that assessment of fish marketing be carried out to determine the viability and effectiveness of marketing system of fish. Marketing of fish could be regarded as the performance of all business activities involved in the flow of fish from the point of production (fisherman or fish farmer) to the final consumer Olukosiet al., (2007:76). Efficient marketing system is significant in a country under all condition and at all stage of its development. Effective marketing system will locate where there are surpluses of produce and bring them to where there are shortages (Chikwenwu and).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
It is important to know that the lesser familiar a species is, the greater the risk that it will be rejected or take a long way to build up demand for it, people’s taste are formed slowly and strongly influenced by traditional eating habits. As prices rise, less is bought and as prices fall, more is bought and poor people are more likely to look for cheaper substitutes than rich people. Thus, in terms of the price dynamics, marketing costs and the marketing functions inherent in the distribution of fish and in relation to how efficient the marketing system is. Spatial price behavior is an important indicator of overall market performance in terms of marketing efficiency. The constraints of adequate capital needed for efficient marketing activities and problems of diversification of the economy which gives equal priority to all real productive sectors. In many countries, a common problem in fish marketing is loss of profit due to fish spoilage, post-harvest losses occur more frequently in the rainy reason than in the dry season. Thus, the present development encountered by the fish traders according to include:
Problem of establishing adequate fishing, production and marketing policies, devoid of sentiments, tribalism and ethnicity the major constraints facing fish marketing in Nigeria are pronounced in the various pre-harvesting methods of fishery products in Nigeria. Such methods involve the usage of mainly artisan and to an extent, commercial (trawler system). Infrastructural problems particularly transportation do militate against the development of fish marketing in Nigeria.
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