How profitable is fish farming business you may ask? Straight off, let me state that it is a profitable business provided you run it well.
As at date, the quantity of fish produced locally cannot feed over 180 million Nigerians. Central Bank of Nigeria gives scarce foreign exchange to importers who import a large percentage of the fish we consume daily.
Because of this fact, there is a ready market for fish farmers to make good money.
This article will show you how to begin fish farming business, so that you can start earning the money we pay for importing fish because of low production locally.
Let us see the commercial potential of fish farming business in Nigeria.
Commercial Potential of Fish Farming In Nigeria
You can easily answer the query how profitable is fish farming business with these four facts. First, Nigerians consume a lot of fish because it is a cheaper source of protein than cow meat or other sources of meat.
Second, we depend largely on importation to meet the demand of fish in the country. Thirdly, the startup cost is small when you compare it to the cost of setting up a cattle or poultry farm.
Fourthly, you are sure that with government support for the agric sector, you can get a long term loan at single digit interest rate, from Agric Banks belonging to the government and Commercial Banks who lend money set aside by the Central Bank of Nigeria for farmers.
Read Also: Cost of Starting a Fish Farm in Nigeria
Write a Fish farming business plan
Now that you know the benefits of doing the business, write a business plan before you launch it.
Conduct a market survey to get all the information about the business such as how to finance it. You need this financial detail so that the cost of feeding the fishes in your farm and other running costs will not overwhelm you.
Apart from that you should get good information of the type of fish farm you wish to start. Also, find out who your buyers and competitors are and how you will market your fish.
For you to get an understanding of the business before you start, please write a business plan. Fortunately, most of the information you need for your business plan is already inside this article. If you are reading this then you are fortunate.
Begin small and scale-up as you gain more experience of the business.
You can start the business with three hundred thousand naira only if you already have a piece of land and borehole. Use the money to get a pond of 10 by 12 feet and 4 – 6 feet deep. This pond can hold an average quantity of 1,000 fully grown fish. However, you can start with 500 or even less.
Types of fish ponds and Design
How profitable is fish farming business, should be in your thoughts as you consider the type of pond to use for your business.
There are three types of ponds namely Earthen, Concrete, and Plastic Tank.
As a starter, you would need expert opinion on the type of pond to construct, source of water, type of feed, vitamins, and general maintenance of the fishes so get an aquaculture consultant.
Fish will thrive in a more natural habitat so go for a pond that is closer to their usual home. That is earthen pond if you are living in an area where you can construct one.
a) Earthen Pond
You should locate your earthen pond in a soil that has at least 20 to 25 percent clay so that it can trap water easily. Dig soil of 1.65 feet to 3.2 feet at the shallow end and 4.93 to 6.56 feet at the drain end.
The pond can be rectangle or any other shape. You build earth pond in swampy environments where stream or river water flows naturally into the pond and flows out too.
b) Concrete Pond
You build it by laying 4 to 5 coaches of blocks using sand, cement and gravel. It can be 10 by12 feet and 4 to 6 feet deep. Fix water in-let and out-let pipes to control the flow and drainage of water in and out of the pond.
You can site it near a pond or river so that you can easily get water for your fish from these natural sources. However, you can also build a well or a borehole to supply water easily to the ponds with storage tanks as strategic reserves.
Concrete ponds require a lot of water so make sure you have a source of water that does not run out.
c) Plastic Pond
This is a very cheap method of starting a fish farm. You can buy plastic containers in various shapes and sizes and put them in your compound to start your small fish farm to test the business.
The plastic ponds are cheap and easy to maintain and the sale of the fish cultivated is quick and without stress.
Source of Water
Fish need water to survive and thrive so change the water often. Water is a very vital source of life for fishes. If you have a concrete pond, it is better you dig a borehole so that you have steady supply of fresh water.
Please note that you cannot use rain water or water you have treated with chemicals for your fish farm.
Location and Land Mass of Farm
Safety of your farm is important. In addition, closeness to a big town from which you will get real demand for your fish is a key factor for selecting any location.
You may choose to start with a plot of land or more or even less, but it should be big enough for the construction of your ponds and the water source (i.e. well or borehole).
Many start small in their backyards and expand later, but you can buy cheap lands in the outskirts of the city. Just make sure you site it close enough to the city to take advantage of the population living there who are your potential customers.
Types of Fishes You can Cultivate
The popular fishes you cultivate in Nigeria are Cat Fish, Tilapia and Salmon also known as Mackerel.
Cat fish is easy to breed. It is a type of fish Nigerians love.
Restaurants, Beer Parlors and Hotels use it for soups and pepper soups. In addition, you use it for marriage ceremonies and different kinds of festivals Nigerians celebrate.
Many Farmers choose to do cat fish farming when you compare it to the other type of fish farming because the demand for it is very high.
Tilapia is widely eaten by Nigerians in their soups. It is also easy to grow and matures fast.
This fish is widely sold in Nigeria. It is popular with the local people who call it Titus. The Fishes’ usual home is the Oceans but you can breed them in shallow waters of fish farms.
Sterilize water with antibacterial and anti-fungi medicine. Make sure the ion and natural concentration of water is of equal strength before putting fish inside the pond. To get the exact mix, get an aquaculture consultant.
Fingerlings and Juveniles
To start the breeding process, buy Fingerlings and Juveniles. The prices range between N20 to N40 naira for fingerlings and N40 to N80 for Juveniles.
Please note that actual price may vary from whatever prices I quote here. Therefore, do a market survey by visiting local fish farmers and feed sellers to get exact rates.
Fingerlings are the size of your finger and one to three weeks old, while Juveniles are four to six weeks old before the post juvenile phase.
How profitable is fish farming business you might wonder, as you think of the high cost of feeding the juveniles until maturity. If you already have land and source of water in your farm like most small scale farmers do, feeding is the major cost you bear in this business.
You have to feed the fishes well for them to grow fast. If you feed them properly, they would grow from 1 to 1.5 kg in 4 to 6 months. You can budget an estimate of the sum of N300,000 to feed 1,000 juveniles up to 1kilogram weight in six months.
Fish farming Business: Things You Should Know and Do
Here is a list of things you should know and do in no particular order if you wish to run a profitable fish farming business.
- buy healthy Fingerlings and Juveniles from farms that produce them
- feed them two times in a day
- to make sure they don’t pollute the water, carry out spot feeding
- do not change water instantly after feeding so that they do not vomit the food
- do not economize water as fish cannot survive outside water
- replace water after two or three days with fresh water
- give fish vitamin supplements to keep them diseases free and healthy
- buy the popular brand of feed on sale such as Raanan, Livestovit and Aquafeed
- you have these options when buying feed for cat fish- local and imported
- imported feed costs more per kilogram
- local feed costs less per kilogram
- The feed could also be either flour meal or small pellets size
- separate fishes by sizes as they grow to avoid bigger fishes eating smaller ones
- keep same size fishes in the same pond to grow well
- Same size fishes will develop, fight for food, swim, and have healthy competition
- to reduce cost of feed, buy your own Pelletizer to make your own feed
- store your feeds in a cool dry place to keep them from rodents and pests
- attend seminars to gain knowledge from aquaculture experts
- join fish farmers associations to share ideas
- expand your farm with low interest government Agric loans
Factors That Can Affect Growth of Fish
People assume that the larger their pond the bigger the fishes will be. This is not the case. The size of your pond does not affect the growth negatively.
However, there are factors that can affect growth of fishes mostly in small ponds. They are heredity, how you feed them and the quality of the water you put them.
Sale after Maturity
Let us agree that you wrote a business plan, know the market exist and who to sell to. As the fish mature, it is good you do another study of the market to know the current prices they are selling.
You can sell to whole sale buyers, retailers, restaurants, hotels or big supermarkets, but to make profit, do a survey to get the current market price.
How profitable is fish farming business you soliloquize as your fishes mature. For some answers, study your target market and be sure who your customers are, so that you can produce exact size of fish they want (1kg or 1.5 kg) and sell with ease.
Another way for selling your produce quickly and at good price is by telling buyers in advance when your fish would mature. You can put them on notice of about two months so they are ready to clear your produce.
You should realize that the price of Cat Fish vary from one locality to another, but range from N500 to N1,000 per kilogram.
Problems to Guide against in Fish Farming
Below are some problems you should watch out for and take precaution.
1. No Business Plan
If you don’t have a business plan for your fish farm, you are planning to fail. Therefore write a business plan to guide your investment in fish farming and protect your capital.
2. Lack of experience
Get adequate knowledge. Attend seminars; appoint experts to provide advice, as you need it.
3. Bad Farm Site
Put your farm in a place where buyers can easily come. Let the access roads be suitable for vehicles to use, and open your farm close to a city with large population.
If the water temperature increases it can affect the survival rate of juveniles, egg production and reproduction rate, and increase of your fish farm. To grow your fish and keep them healthy, control the temperature in the pond.
5. Competition from Local Fishermen
Local fishermen sell at low prices so be ready to market your fish far and wide to get the best prices for your farm produce. To lessen this problem, get wholesale buyers from restaurants, hotels and large supermarkets to buy from you.
Disease can wipe out the whole juveniles at once so watch out for any signs of sickness such as loss of appetite, sluggishness, discoloration, etc. Get a Veterinary doctor.
How Soon can You make Money in Fish farming Business ?
How profitable is fish farming business, you wonder as you think of how soon you can recoup your initial capital.
Every investment has a gestation period. Let us agree that you may use the first juveniles you invest in to learn the fish farming business and are not expecting so much out of it.
The second and third juveniles should pay off your initial startup costs. While the fourth juveniles you invest in should give you a fair return and profit. You would be making profit between 20 to 24 months.
Factors that affect Your Profit
To assess how profitable is fish farming business, let us list the factors that could affect your profit so that you know how to deal with them when you start your farm.
Feeding, water and temperature, type of pond you are using, cost of feed, and other costs less cost of sales will affect the profit potentials of your farm per time.
Other things to consider includes location of your farm, farms closeness to the market, demand and supply in the market, special festivals celebrations, etc.
You should be aware that even if you started with 1,000 juveniles there is no guarantee that they will all remain alive till maturity. Assuming you sell 900 matured fish when they grow to weight of 1kilogram at N700 per Kilogram you will still make profit.
Just make sure you amortize costs of land, pond and borehole on installments to write them off gradually from your profit.
How profitable is fish farming business may have been a source of worry but thanks to this article, we have examined most of the problems of how to start the business and make profit.
You now have the information to start fish farming business in Nigeria and profit from it, so what are you waiting for, start yours today.Click here to see the latest Jobs opportunities in Nigeria.
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