Exporting Smoked Catfish from Nigeria. 7 Important Things You Need To Know!


Does Nigeria Export Catfish?

Exporting smoked catfish has been the talk of the Nigerian fish markets for years.

Today we are going to discuss some of the queries that often circulate around exporting smoked catfish and all the issues surrounding it..

According to a 2021 figure by the Nigeria Catfish Association, Nigeria exports about 100 metric tons of catfish yearly to the US, Canada, and Europe out of its 316,727 MT annual aquaculture production.

On closer examination, the Association’s export figure is a paltry 0.03% of Nigeria’s annual production capacity.

But it gets even worse.

According to Tridge Report Data as shown in the graphics below, despite its production capacity, Nigeria’s still had to import about 1,350 MT of frozen catfish in 2021 with only 25 MT exported!

Furthermore, the 25 MT figure for 2021 represented a drop of 77% compared to the previous year

frozen catfish export data Nigeria
Frozen Catfish export data Nigeria

Are Exporters Not Doing Enough? Or Is There A Rapid Increase In The Demand For Smoked Catfish?

It is substantially a bit of both.
More and more Nigerians are settling down in different places around the globe, especially Europe and the US, which has created demand and hence increase sales.

Moreover, exporting smoked catfish produced by the traditional methods as is often the case in Nigeria; produces smoked fish which is often seen as hazardous and so not accepted by many countries.

This therefore further compounds the issue, creating serious challenges in exporting smoked catfish from Nigeria.

See also: Smoked Catfish Business in Nigeria -A Surprising Wealth Source!

Is There Anything Being Done To Bridge That Gap?

Well, since 2019, measures have been put in place by the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) to help Nigerians with exporting smoked catfish.

They have introduced a new smoking kiln technology, to tackle the associated risk of health hazards and have better control over the temperature and other smoking parameters, resulting in better quality smoked fish.

Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) was established in 1948 as West African Stored Products Research Unit (WASPRU) to assess the quality of exportable crops from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia to the United Kingdom during the colonial era.
It became Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) after Nigeria’s independence in 1960


What Can We As Smoked Catfish Processors Or Sellers Do To Increasingly Export Smoked Catfish?


To answer in detail about what can be done by smoked catfish processors to help in exporting smoked catfish, here are a few guidelines:

1.    Obtain A License:

This is the first step to exporting catfish from Nigeria. You need to apply for an export license from the NEPC, which is the Nigerian Export Promotion Council set up by the government.

This is an agency that is responsible for promoting non-oil exports from Nigeria.

smoked catfish could be a good source of income

2.    Meet Export Requirements Set By The Authorities:

The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) is the authority responsible for ensuring that exported agricultural products meet international health and safety standards.

You need to ensure that your smoked catfish meets the export requirements set by NAQS, which include but are not limited to proper handling and storage, inspection, and testing to ensure that it is free from any contaminants and diseases.

3. Find A Reliable Exporter Or Export Agent:

You can either export the catfish yourself or engage the services of a professional export agent or broker.

A professional export agent can help you navigate the export process and ensure that all the necessary steps are taken to meet the export requirements, especially documentation (see item 7 below).

This might add to your cost, but it is a sure-shot way to enter the realm of exporting smoked catfish.

This is a key step in that it is estimated that over 70% of exported agricultural products from many third world countries such as Nigeria are destroyed at the ports of entry due to improper documentation and other export non-compliance issues.

4. Ensure Proper Packaging And Labelling:

Proper packaging and labeling of the smoked catfish are important to ensure its quality and safety during transportation and storage.

The packaging should be sturdy, moisture-proof, and able to withstand the rigours of international shipping. The labeling should include all the necessary information, such as the exporter’s name and address, the catfish’s origin, and weight, along with any ingredients used.

Failure to do this often results in the products being returned or destroyed at the destination port of entry.

5. Arrange Transportation And Shipping:

You need to arrange for the transportation of the smoked catfish from Nigeria to the destination country. This can be done by air, sea, or land, depending on the destination country and the volume of the catfish being exported.

You can also explore exporting small quantities of smoked catfish (20kg or less) from Nigeria to Europe by airfreight with less stringent inspections and other regular export requirements if it is exported for personal use.

This means it has to be shipped to a personal address.

Note that in all cases, the product MUST be in good condition, and free from any contaminants or any visible sign of spoilage.
As a business practice, it is advisable to ensure that it is properly insured.

You may also like: Smoked Catfish Benefits and Uses

6. Obtain Necessary Export Documentation:

You need to obtain the necessary export documentation, including a certificate of origin and a sanitary/phytosanitary certificate from NAQS.

These certificates are important to ensure that the catfish meets international health and safety standards and to facilitate the customs clearance process.

7. Pay Any Applicable Taxes and Customs Duties:

Finally, you need to pay any applicable taxes and customs duties on the exported catfish. This can be done at the port of departure in Nigeria or at the port of entry in the destination country, depending on the regulations of the destination country.

While we are at it, let’s also quickly talk about how to sell smoked catfish locally, In Nigeria or any other country in the world.

How To Sell Smoked Catfish Locally?

Ever since its increase in population, smoked catfish has been increasing in demand. Here are some places you can pitch your Smoked Catfish, to increase your sales.

● Wholesalers
● Retailers
● Catering businesses
● Importers
● Fish-mongers
● Online retailers
● Specialty food stores

This brings us to the last of our frequently asked queries.

You may also like our article. How To Preserve, Process, and Pack Smoked Catfish

Smoked Catfish Price Per Kg?

The price of smoked catfish can vary depending on several factors, such as the location, demand, and supply of the product.

Some of the factors that can influence the price of smoked catfish include:

1. Quality Of The Catfish:
The quality of the catfish, including its size, freshness, and appearance, can impact the price.

2. Method Of Smoking:
The method of smoking the catfish, such as traditional or modern smoking techniques, also impacts the price as the method affects the overall quality such as taste and appearance.

3. Location:
The location of the market, whether it is a rural or urban area, can also impact the price. You are more likely to get a better price from wholesalers in urban centres than in rural areas.

4. Supply And Demand:
The supply and demand of the product can also impact the price. If the demand for smoked catfish is high and the supply is low, the price may be higher.

Therefore, it is difficult to provide a specific price for smoked catfish as it can vary widely depending on the factors mentioned above.

It is best to check with local fish markets or online platforms to get an idea of the current price of smoked catfish in your area.



There exist huge opportunities to export smoked catfish from Nigeria.

However, to take advantage of it, sellers must prepare and equip themselves with the know-how required to ensure success.

Thankfully, there are many agencies that have this knowledge that can be consulted to ensure the products reach their intended destinations safely.

Are you currently considering exporting catfish from Nigeria?

What specific challenges are you experiencing? What part of the journey are you on now?

We love to hear from you!

Share with us your experience by using the comment box below. There may just be someone out there who has the solution to your problem.



Festus Otasowie
Festus Otasowie
Articles: 55


  1. hello, your article is educative and informative. i have been looking for a source of information on this article but finally yours is amazing and helpful, i hope i can get for information personally from you. how can i reach you directly for further information?

  2. Good day,was just trying to make research on how to export catfish,, Please will like to know how to export and how to find target customers over there,really hoping to hear from you soon,thank you

    • Hello Gemisola
      Take a look at our “Seafood business” category and you will find more articles that answer your question on how to find overseas buyers. I hope that helps.

  3. Goodday sir,am glad to see dis piece of article, am already setting up a dry cat fish exportation business made contact with some buyers in Europe whom have shown much interest but my challenges rite now is how to obtain the required license documents to enable me proceed pls any help.my what’sup contact 09061946051 Tank u.

    • Hello Bello,
      I am glad you have made progress in your bid to export your catafish.
      Unfortunately we do not provide one on one consultation services at this point. Perhaps in the future that may change.
      If your country of business is Nigeria (my guess) then I suggest getting across to the Nigeria Export Processing Council (NEPC) to first get the licensing you need and also all other things that may be required of you to conduct the export.
      I hope this sets you in the right direction and gives you a place to start.
      All the best

  4. i was looking out for possibilities of exporting catfish to overseas customers. can I have a tutor on this please.

    • Hello Valentine,
      Yes getting overseas buyers is the way to go. Unfortunately, we do not provide one on one coaching to our customers and clients. However I encourage you to check the list of our articles as there at least 5 articles on our blog that can give you most of what you need to know about doing the export.
      I hope this helps.

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