There are so many information on the internet on how to start fish farming in Nigeria especially catfish farming but few are detailed enough to really assist aspiring fish farmer to get started. I will be endeavor to make this article as detailed as possible and hope that other experienced fish farmer will add to it as we try to answer people’s questions by commenting.
One of the most popular agribusiness in Nigeria is fish farming and for good reasons. Gone are the days when the only means of getting fish is by catching it in the local rivers and ponds through trial and errors. Today, the modern farm practice has made it possible to grow fish in the farms and control the input.
If you are thinking of business to start now, I recommend you start Catfish Farming. If you are an existing farmer and you are looking to expand your farm capacity, I’d encourage you add fish farming to your line of business. Fish farming (especially catfish) is most compatible with poultry farming as you can use the poultry drops to produce the feed for your fish.
Benefits of Fish Farming
1. Fish is Popular
Fishery products is by far the most popular animal products in the market, constituting more than 60% of meat produce in the Nigerian market.
2. Fish is Source of Protein
Fish is one of the highest source of protein. It is a low-fat high quality protein that is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is also very rich in calcium and phosphorus and is equally a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.
3. Fish Sells Quick
Fish sells faster than any other animal products in the market and is relatively cheaper than meats, making it the number one choice when it comes to affordability.
4. Fish Matures Quickly
Fish grows very fast as practices in fish farming makes it possible for farmers to increase the fastness of their fish growth by giving them certain feeds, ensuring that you harvest and sell within short period of time.
5. Fish Contains Omega-3
Fish is the biggest source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is extremely beneficial to human heart; Omega-3 helps to keep our heart and brain very healthy. Since human body doesn’t produce Omega-3 fatty acids, the only source through which we can get it is by what we eat, that is where fish comes to the rescue.
6. Fish Farming is Profitable
Fish farming is very profitable. With proper planning and good management, N3 million investment in fish farming could easily result to N4 million of pure profit within six months.
7. No Environmental Hazard
Fish farm does not cause any environmental hazard. Unlike poultry farming, you can setup fish farm anywhere, including residential areas. If you have a specious compound, you can easily setup a small fish farm within your backyard without any regulatory precaution.
Risks and Challenges in Fish Farming
1. Sensitive to Manage
Fish is very sensitive to manage and a slight mistake could result to degenerated growth of your fish or even death which may cause massive revenue loss.
2. Capital Intensive
Setting up fish farm is capital intensive, much more than that of poultry and snail farming. Setting up fish farm requires more careful planning and much capital input. A relatively small fish farm may take up to N500,000 to setup, while bigger ones takes millions of naira.
3. Fish is Priced High
Due to the cost of production, fish produced from the farm is priced higher than those caught from the rivers and ponds by fishermen. Therefore, if there are good quantity of fisherman’s fish in the market, you may find it difficult to sell as people would prefer the cheaper ones.
4. No Byproduct
There is no byproduct in fishery unlike poultry where even the drop can be harvested and sold to other farmers and make extra profit. In fishery, all you get is the flesh.
Types Of Fish You Can Farm
Haven seen the benefits as well as the risks involved in fish farming, let’s now proceed to decide which specie of fish we want to farm. Below are some of the most popular fish species that is suitable for Aquaculture.
1. Cat Fish –
Even though Catfish is not the most popular fish in Nigeria, this fish species is by far the most cultivated in Nigeria. One thing good about catfish is that it is one of the easiest fish species to cultivate. So, people naturally flow to the direction of fish specie they found to be the easiest to cultivate.
2. Tilapia –
Second most popular fish in Nigeria’s aquaculture industry, Tilapia is a fish species that lives in fresh shallow water. Tilapia is very easy to cultivate and very popular in Nigerian market, it reproduces very rapidly and grows fast too.
3. Mackerel (Titus) –
This is by far the most popular fish in Nigerian market but so sad it’s not farmed. All Mackerel Fish are “wild caught” but some farmer in Nigeria are considering the possibility of creating artificial salty water that will be similar to sea water where mackerel can only survive. Can this deep blue sea fish specie be cultivated artificially? Only time will tell but for now, you have to focus your attention to Catfish and Tilapia.
What You Need To Get Started In Fish Farming
1. Secure a Land
Any location is good since fish doesn’t cause any environmental disturbance. Look for land where you can get it cheap and buy. Depending on the capacity you wants to operate on, half plot of land is just good enough for average fish farm.
However, you may go for something bigger like full plot or two if you can afford it probably for convenience sake. If you already have a compound with leftover space you thing can accommodate two or three ponds, you may use it.
2. Construct Ponds
You need to engage the service of expert pond construction engineer or you go to another fish farm to get the specification and construction requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage.
3. Dig a Borehole
Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result to disaster because water need to be changed on regular interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water is the most suitable. Rain water and tap water from chemically treated source is not recommended for fish cultivation.
4. Install Overhead Tank
This is the water reservoir from which water is supplied to your ponds. This tank has to be connected to your ponds through plumbing system to make it convenient for water to flow into your ponds when needed.
5. Get Juvenile Fish
Get your juvenile from another farm that specializes in supplying it. You need to go for the high yield specie of catfish or tilapia and make sure you are getting it from a healthy farm.
6. Get Training
Not the kind of training you get from one day seminars; you need to get attached to a fish farm for proper apprenticeship. For you to properly learn this trade, you need at least two months training on this.
Remember that your investment is at stake, trial and error is not good in business except you have unlimited funds to experiment with.
Feasibility Study For Standard Fish Farming
This feasibility study prepared for a catfish farm capacity of 10,000 and fingerlings of high breed catfish where to be stocked. The expenses from pond construction to marketing is considered. The farm is to have 10 concrete ponds of flow through system and each pond is to contains 1,000 stocked catfish.
Cost of Constructing Each Pond is as Follows
Each pond is 3m x 2.5m by 1.4m, each pond consumes 210 blocks and each bag of cement for 30 blocks. Hence 210 x 10 = 2,100 blocks. 2,100/30 = 70 bags of cement needed. 2000 x 70 = 140,000 naira.
- 4trips of sand used = 7,000×4 = N28,000
- 2trips of gravel = 32,000x 2 = N64,00
- Cost of labour = N150,00
- Cost of plumbing (inlet and outlet facility) = N100,000.
- The cost of bore hole = N150,000.
- Cost of treatment = N50,000.
- The cost of high breed fingerlings 30×10,000 = N300,000.
- Cost of feeding from day one to maturity stage is 200 bags of foreign feed = N1,000,000.
After the average weight of the fish was 1.7kg. And it was sold at 800 naira each. The output was 800×9800 fishes, due to 200 mortality. 800 x 9800 = N7,840,000.
Input is N3.25’million. The profit is N4.59 million after six months of culture. Following this cost analysis, you can easily invest N3 million and expect good turnover within six months of harvest and sell.
There is no doubt that fish farming is among the list of lucrative businesses in Nigeria. You need to get it right by drawing complete business plan and following it to the later. You need to apply good management skill and follow the acceptable standard. If you do all these, you are sure to make good profit from your fish farming business in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa or where else you choose t set it up.