How to start a Catfish farm in Nigeria
So you have heard that there is a lot of money in fish farming in Nigeria?! Have you also heard that many people are leaving the business? Fish farming is not a get-rich-quick-scheme as publicized by many online farmers. It is a business that needs to be cultured and built patiently and deliberately.
The planning stage of a farm would either make it a profitable venture or a failing venture. What is the quality of preparation? Here are 9 basic things that should guide you as you start your catfish business in Nigeria.
- Training/ Mentorship – I have gone far, because I have stood on the shoulders of great men. Some people haven’t stepped into a fish farm before nor had a one on one conversation with a fish farmer on site, yet they want to start a farm. You would gain so much by meeting and being trained by a fish farmer on his farm and discussing with him. Talk to as many fish farmers as you can so you get a broader view. Don’t settle for e-books or online feasibility reports only. Go to a farm! You can fix to visit and learn from our farm here (link to fish farm tours)
- The Agribusiness of Fish- There are many ways of making money from catfish farming. You can become an hatcher, grow Fish to Mélange or table size, buy smoking kilns and buy already grown fish and smoke, become a hotel / joint supplier e.t.c, Who says you have to own a fish farm to make money from Catfish?! There is a whole value chain you can tap into.
- Water – Water is one of the most important elements in catfish farming. You need a lot of water. It’s aqua-culture after all! And when I mean water, don’t only think of quantity, look at the supply also! Imagine someone starting his farm with a borehole that is fixed with a 1inch pipe? How many hours would he use to fill a 20 thousand liters pond? How much fuel would he consume with a generator? That has increased his production cost and reduced the profit. You see that a fish farmer thinks differently from a plumber? The plumber’s duty is to fix a pump and get water out. The fish farmer needs the water out as plenty and as fast and cheap as possible. You see that online trainings or statements are not enough ? How about draining the water? Water is also the major waste on a fish farm. I was invited to Port Harcourt to try to address the issue of a farm that had no place to drain its water. Imagine millions of money in investments and no drainage for the waste water. So the farm is closed. Too bad! Plan for water!
- Target Market- why would you go into a business without knowing where you are going to sell the fishes or how much you are going to sell it? What size of catfish do the buyers around you want? That way you know the amount you are expecting, who you plan to sell it to and the total amount you must expend on the production process for you to be profitable.
- Types of Ponds- There are different rearing systems for catfish in Nigeria. Cages, Earthen Ponds, Re-circulatory systems, Concrete Ponds, Tanks and Mobile Ponds are being used. I personally believe Earthen Ponds are the best but all of them have their comparative advantages over each other. If you’d like to visit and see farms using all the types of ponds and decide which ones to start with click here (link for farm tour)
- Feed- Feed expenses make up over 70 percent of your total expenditure on a well-planned catfish farm so you have to pay attention to it.
There are 3 types of catfish feed in Nigeria- Imported, Local and Self-Made Feeds. Aller Aqua, Skrettings, Coppens are manufactured by companies outside Nigeria (imported). Chi, Vital, Rannan, Vision are locally made by Nigeria based companies and finally local feed Miller’s and experienced fish farmers (I have mine) have their formula’s for their feed which they take to local feed Miller’s and mill. Most farmers start with imported feeds and end with local feeds to ensure profitability. Feed is something that must be planned and budgeted appropriately for.
- Staffing and Security:
You don’t want to wait for 6 months and find that there are just 200 fishes in your 2000 fish-stocked-pond. Though there are tricks now to ensure your staff remains straight but nothing beats having a honest working environment.
In starting your fish farm, you can either come for your fish farm training or invite us to your site to advise on how best to maximize the resources available to you in starting your fish farm!
Those are some tips that can help you start as you begin your catfish adventure. You can read through our blog to see current on-goings in the catfish business.