ECONOMICS OF CATFISH (Clarias gariepinus) PRODUCTION IN BAYELSA STATE, NIGERIA
The study investigated the economics of catfish (Clarias gariepinus) production in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The broad objective of the study was to examine the economics of Catfish production in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to: (i) describe the socio-economic characteristics of catfish farming; (ii) determine the technical efficiency of catfish farming; (iii) identify factors that influence technical efficiency of catfish farming; (iv) analyze the costs and returns associated with catfish farming; and (v) examine the problems associated with catfish farming. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select three (3) Local Government Areas (Yenagoa, Ogbia and Kolokuma-Opokuma) purposively based on their predominance in commercial catfish farming and randomly five (5) communities each from the 3 LGAs. Furthermore nine (9) catfish farmers in each community were randomly selected making a total number of one hundred and thirty five (135) catfish farmers. One hundred and twenty (120) copies questionnaires were retrieved out of one hundred and thirty five (135) copies and used for the analysis. Structured questionnaire was used to elicit the required information from the selected respondents. The result indicates that 75.0% of the respondents fall between age ranged of 31-50 with the mean age of 42 years. Majority of the catfish farmers were married (79.2%), males (83.3%) dominated catfish production in the study area, 91.7% had family size of 1-10 people in their households with the mean of 7 people, 92.5% had one form of education or the other. The result further shows that 87.5% had 1-10 years of farming experience, 83.3% were part-time farmers, 43.4% had farm size of 1-1.5 hectares, 66.7% used family labour while 58.3% had one month contact with extension agent. Feeds, capital, labour and pond size have significant relationship with catfish production at various probability levels. The mean technical efficiency was 0.92 with minimum and maximum efficiencies of 0.68 and 0.99. The inefficiency model revealed that farming experience, sex, pond type and number of ponds were the variables that increasred the technical efficiency of the respondents. Total Fixed Cost (TFC) was ₦881,500.00 while Total Variable Cost (TVC) was ₦3,956,025.01with Net Farm Income (NFI) of ₦3,113,183.32 during production period of six months. Return on investment was ₦0.64 which implies profitability of catfish production in the study area. The study also identified high cost of feed, inadequate finance, inadequate seed supply, lack of land, lack of organized market, high cost of transportation, lack of modern technologies, and high cost of labour were the major problems faced by catfish farmers. It is therefore recommended that farmers need for government and non –government support in terms of improves feed research that will help to reduce the cost of catfish feeds without reducing the efficacy of the feeds.Furthermore, there is need to be given proper orientation and/or basic training in major farm management techniques most especially participation in programmes that address efficient allocation of production resources. This will help increase their level of profitability, hence, be more efficient.