We all know now that thousands of Nigerians are venturing into fish farming business on a daily basis, and poultry as one of the key sectors that have high demand. This movement not only grows the industry, but contributes some efforts to reduce unemployment and promote economic growth.
Fish farming business is profitable and has a widespread across various parts of Nigeria. The insatiable demand for fishery products like Tilapia, Catfish, and Mackerel (Salmon) in Nigeria has constantly self-promoted the steady growth and expansion of the industry.These factors, coupled with the current support of institutions, the Nigerian government, and several other African countries to promote agriculture and also support fish farmers, makes the industry one of the most lucrative agricultural business segments to venture into.
Here Are The Benefits Of Fish Farming:
An Explosive Market:
The market potential for an aquaculture business is enormous in Nigeria, Africa, and many other countries in the world. With the population of Nigeria at currently over 170 million, and expect to exceed that of the United States by 2050, the market potential for a fish farming business cannot be understated.
Aside from the fact that fishery products are one of the most sought after and consumed agricultural products in Nigeria, it is also cheaper than meat, making it an affordable meal when the buyer either cannot afford to purchase meat, or simply just wants to have a fish meal.
The explosive market size of this fish farming business makes it one of the most important agricultural sector of opportunities to venture into for any new, existing, or non-interested farmer.
Low Operating Cost:
The cost of starting up and running an aquaculture farm is low, compared to many other agricultural business ideas. In direct comparison to poultry farming, fish farming has a lower operational budget because of its cheaper fish feed and running costs.
Also, while poultry products are highly susceptible to dangerous diseases (like Bird Flu) which could cost the farm owner a lot of wasted investments if not handled properly, fish farming business/products have lesser threatening vices.
With the governments around Africa currently embarking on a large campaign to motivate the people on the continent to invest in agriculture with attractive capital incentives, it only makes this moment a perfect time to consider fish farming business as one of the lucrative agriculture business ideas to venture into.
Great Source of Protein:
Irrespective of the financial benefits fish farming poses, fishery products been a source of protein, also contributes its health benefits to the general populace. With millions, if not billions of people consuming fishery products every day, fish farming would constantly stand as a healthy proteinous meal with rich health benefits to everyone.
And We Have Various Types of Fish Farming:
This is the most popular aquaculture business in Nigeria, because of the popularity of the breed of fishes grown. Catfishes are the most common fishery products used in African meals at various households, restaurants, events, hotels, and a lot more.
Their ease of cultivation and demand makes most aquaculture farmers to focus on growing catfishes instead of other breeds.
This aquaculture business is run with fresh water fishes inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. These Tilapias are the second most popular fishes used in Nigerian meals. They’re of increasing important in aquaculture all over the world.
The fact that these fishes grow rapidly and tolerate high stocking densities and poor water quality, makes them a lucrative breed for fish farmers to grow.
Salmon (Mackerel) Farming:
Salmons are fresh water fishes that usually migrate to the ocean, and return to fresh waters to reproduce. While they are generally harvested in the wild, they are also grown in fish farms. Salmons account for a high percentage of fishery products consumed in Nigeria. They’re mostly known as “Titus” in Nigeria, and are purchased by millions of households on a daily basis.
Feasibility Study on How to Start a Catfish Farming Business
With $500 to $750 (100,000 to 150,000 Naira), you can setup a 10ft X 10ft earth fish pond with a mild depth of about 4ft to 6ft. This constructed dimension would be able to hold about 1,000 grown fishes. You can also construct a concrete pond, use a plastic tank, or a drum pond.
Before you start stocking your fishes, you need to disinfect your pond with anti-fungi and anti-bacteria. You should also balance your fish pond’s organic and ion concentration by fertilization with banana leaves or poultry dungs.
You need to purchase fingerlings and juveniles for your fish pond. Fingerlings usually don’t cost above 20 Naira per each, and Juveniles usually don’t cost above 40 Naira per each. An economic recession and other vices can fluctuate the prices of these fingerlings.
You have to feed your fishes once or twice a day. Feeding carries the bulk of the operating cost. Catfishes in hatcheries are to be fed meals that are properly ground, or feeds that that are flour-like, and contain 45 to 50 percent of protein.
Small floating pellets (about 1/8 inch diameter) containing about 35 percent of protein should be fed to larger fingerlings. Floating feed of approximately 5/32 – 3/16 inch in diameter containing about 28 to 32 percent of protein should be fed to advanced fingerlings (which are about 5 to 6 inches long).
Proper feeding intervals can get the fishes to weigh as much as 1.5kg after five months of adequate care. Feeding the catfishes is generally about 60% of your entire farm costs. Most of these catfish feeds are imported into Nigeria and cost an average of 5,500 Naira per bag 15kg bag.
The way the meals are fed to catfishes have to be carefully executed because 700 two months old fishes can finish a 15kg feed bag in just 10 days! This high cost of catfish feed can greatly affect your profitability.
Another alternative is to source locally made fish feeds. These usually cost about 3,500 Naira per 15kg bag. With fewer individuals producing locally made catfish feed, finding and gaining access to these can pose a big challenge.
You have to feed your fishes in such a way that they you don’t pollute the water. This can be achieved by practicing spot fishing. You shouldn’t also change the water immediately after feeding, to avoid the fishes vomiting their meals. And you should constantly apply supplements like Livestovit and Aquapro to protect your fishes from diseases.
As your fishes grow, you need to constantly sort them to avoid larger fishes feeding on the smaller ones. This is best done by putting fishes of the same size inside a pond together to reduce their cannibalistic instincts. This doesn’t just ensure a bulk survival, but also ensures adequate growth and development because, they can equally compete for food, water, and space.
Change the pond’s water on a regular basis to improve the fishes longevity, and reduce the chances of diseases springing up on your fish farm. Clean water should be used to replace the existing water every 2 to 3 days. Without proper water management, most of your fishes wouldn’t alive to maturity.
With the cost of catfishes at about 500 Naira per kilogram in Lagos, 650 Naira per kilogram in Makurdi, and 750 Naira per kilogram in Abuja, Nigeria, you need to do a really good market feasibility study to understand the type of buyers that most likely patronize your own fish farm business.
Ideally, this should be the very first thing you do before even starting a fish farm, but assuming you’ve already done this, contact potentially identified buyers, and offer to sell your fishes to them on more favorable terms.
Make sure your buyers are aware of your fishery products about 2 months before they’re fully grown, to increase your chances of selling out most of your merchandise quickly.
The ultimate goal of every fish farmer is to grow their fishes to achieve a body weight of 1kg within the shortest possible time. If this is managed and done right, the fishes can achieve this size in four to six months.
The Risks and Challenges of Fish Farming
Poor Farm Site:
A poor fish farm location can impact negatively on the farm’s full potential for growth. Due to its difficult inaccessibility to a city area, sales may slow down drastically for the farm owner.
Poor Pond Planning and Design:
A poorly planned fish farm can lead to leakages, disorganization, and several other factors that eventually pile up unwanted expenses.
Poor Market Survey:
Without doing a proper feasibility study of the fish farming business by estimating the size of your potential market, cost of farm products, and a lot more, you could be headed for failure, or a major loss from the onset.
Little To No Experience:
An ardent lack of experience can lead you to waste your entire investment on your fish farming business.
Competition From Fisher Men:
With lower costs of fishes being sold by fisher men, the revenues your fish farm generates could be negatively impacted.