Catfish farming is here to stay in Nigeria. More and more people keep plugging in every day. A crucial decision to be made is knowing the best fish feed to rear your catfish.
Fish feed in this business takes up over 70 percent on a well-planned catfish fish farm. I use well planned because some fish farms in Nigeria spend much more on their production expense. Thereby increasing unnecessarily the costs of power, staffing and other activities on the farm.
Check here for things you should look out for before you start your fish farm. After then you must make decisions on the type of fish feed you want to use on your farm.
After many people do their accounting and find out that the bulk of their production expense go into the feed for the catfish, the realisation that one has to keep his Feed budget as low as possible dawns.
Questions then start flying, which feed is the best for me to use? Which catfish feed do you use? How can I get it? Which feed is the best? This one is expensive etc. but are those the questions they should be asking?
Some ground rules…
1. Garbage in, garbage out
Yes, fish eat anything, but they don’t eat anything to grow the way you expect them to grow in your business. If you feed them rubbish, expect rubbish as a result.
F.c.r is an acronym for feed conversion ratio. It is actually the underlying mark of profitability of a Farm. It is the signal of the efficiency of fish. What quantity of feed do you need to give the fish to give you a certain weight? It is important that you understand this squarely and keep the records. Here is a more comprehensive article on how to calculate the fcr of fish on your farm.
3. Price of fish feed
Some are more expensive than others. Do they offer the same results? Is there a comparative advantage? For instance, if I use a feed of 650n per kg with a result of 1.2 f.c.r that means it costs 1.2 of 650n that is 780n to get 1 kg of fish. What if I use a feed of 200n per kg with an f.c.r of 2? That means I would use 2 of 200n which is 400n to get 1kg of fish, though with a little more time. Now, which one is really better or more profitable? The 750 or the 400? Which would you choose?
Types of Feed in Nigeria
Currently, In Nigeria, there are different options for fish feed available. I would group these into 3 classes. Most of the feeds are in 15kg bags.
1. Imported fish feed
These are the likes of Skretting (Durante) fish feed, Coppens fish feed, Aller Aqua fish feed.
2. Nigerian Made
Nationwide popular brands e.g Chi fish feed, Vital fish feed, Top fish feed, Aqualis fish feed, Blue Crown fish feed, Skretting sinking feed (25kg bag), Ace feed, Mogbams feed and Vision Fish feed.
3. Indigenous and self-formulated fish feeds in local feed mills
These are feeds made by the end users themselves by going to a local feed mill to have them formulated with their formula’s.
CURRENT FISH FEED PRICES
As of 15th of April 2018, the prices of these feeds were obtained from a local shop nearby. Note that all these prices are for the same 15kg bag of feed.
Skretting 2mm-9375 (625 per kg)
Coppens 2mm-11500 (766.67 per kg)
Chi 2mm- 7000 (466.67 per kg)
Vital Feed 2mm-6300 (420 per Kg)
BlueCrown 2mm-6000 (400 per Kg)
Indigenous and self-made feeds are made based on the individual’s formulas or combination of feed materials. They range from an average of 250n/kg to 350/kg. Most of the local feed made sink when introduced to water. Some indigenous feed mills now make local floating feeds though.
4 Steps to the Decision
Some questions you must ask yourself are-
1. How much is the price of fish right now? How much is fish being sold in my area right now? Let us assume a year-round average price of a kg of fish as N600.
2. The world acknowledged f.c.r of fish is 1:1 (I haven’t seen that in my several years of fish farming in Nigeria). A more realistic f.c.r that takes into account for mortality and other factors is 1.2-1.3. That means you feed the fishes 1.3 kg of feed to have them grow to 1 kg of flesh. (You must understand the concept of f.c.r to make this decision- click here for a better explanation on f.c.r).
3. So if the price of fish is N600 as we postulated and you aim to have a profit of 20% on your fish business ( I know consultants have told you how profitable fish farm is and how you can make millions off just 1000 fishes but just stick with my ‘low’ markup for now), that means the total cost of your feed, fish (juvenile or fingerling purchase- check here on how to stock the best fingerlings) and other expense must not be more than N480 per 1kg fish so that N120 would be your profit per fish.
4. You then have to multiply all those feed prices per kg quoted earlier by the f.c.r that you think you would get on your farm. This would help you to know the actual price per kg it would cost you to raise fish on your farm using each of the feeds.
It is Ultimately your Decision!
Which one of them do you think you can make a decent profit with?
Now you see why people are keeping off imported feeds? It is not just a patriotic concept, but also
the only profitable concept.
All the best with your choice of feeds.
Note this article represents Akinfish’s personal opinion and is not targeted at marketing or downgrading any product or feed brand- you can speak to me for ideas or counsel on 08161385163.
Please leave your thoughts, comments or questions in the comment section, I would love to respond!
I wish us all profits on our fish farms!