In this post we shall be looking at how to start catfish farming business in Nigeria or elsewhere.
Do you know that catfish farming is the most lucrative farming business in Nigeria? Yeah, with only #500,000(cost of fingerlings and feeding only) you can successfully breed about 1500 fishes and net about #1,125,000 within six months. These are not just assumed figures, am telling you from experience.
Sounds lucrative right? However, you must know that going into this business without adequate knowledge of what fish farming is all about have caused many investors colossal loss of time and capital.
But, that shouldn’t discourage you because in this post I promise to teach you all you need to know to run your fish farm successfully.
1. Fish is one the highest source of protein, Omega-3 and other essential minerals such as calcium so it is highly demanded.
2. Also, it is used in preparing most of our local delicacies and so highly demanded by hotel and bar owners even in homes.
3. The fish market is large and unsaturated. The demand for fish far exceeds the supply so the market is always large enough to accommodate new entrants.
4. Catfish farming business is very lucrative and you can recoup your capital and make bumper profit within a very short period if you manage your farm properly.
5. Catfish farming business can be started with small amount of money and you are still very sure of making profit. However, your capital input determines your profit.
Having known why you should start catfish farming business, let’s look at the requirements you will need to start and run your fish farm.
Like I always advice my readers, the first thing to do whenever you want to start any business is to engage in a proper market research to discover the viability of the business, know your competitors, get the prices of materials you will need to start and sustain the business and prepare a realistic plan with accurate cost and revenue projections. Read: tips on writing an effective business plan.
Please do not jump into this business just because you have read that it is very lucrative, it is important you conduct a proper research to know all about the business, read good books and posts like this and above all get yourself attached to a very good catfish farm and be trained for at least a month before plunging into catfish farming business so as not to waste your investment and time.
This is the next thing to acquire if you intend starting catfish farming business.
This can be half plot, full plot or even more depending on your intended scale of operation and the type of pond you intend using. Even a space at your backyard is enough to start small scale fish farming.
So, not having money to secure a land shouldn’t deter you from starting your fish farm.
After securing a land or a space, the next thing to do is to construct your pond.
We have different types of fish ponds such as earthen pond, concrete pond, plastic pond etc and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
For instance, plastic ponds are cheaper and convenient for small scale production, concrete ponds are durable and good if you intend staying in the business for long.
Also, earthen ponds give the fishes that feeling that they are in their natural habitat and so make for faster growth.
Whichever type of pond you choose to use, it is advisable you visit fish farms close to you and see for yourself how each works as well hire good engineers especially if you are constructing a concrete pond.
Having constructed your pond, the next thing to do is to ensure constant source of water supply for your fishes.
I advice you dig a borehole and have overheard tanks so as to avoid water scarcity. You can ask well supply water from a nearby stream or even well as long as you are sure the water is clean and ensure it is constantly supplied to the ponds.
Also, make sure you change the pond water every two days. Remember, the pond is not like river or stream that flows and the feed particles you throw into the water contaminates as well as covers the water surface making it difficult for your fishes to breathe in fresh oxygen and this is one of the major reasons why fish farmers witness high mortality.
It is advisable to have your feeds ready before you go for your juvenile or fingerlings so that after introducing them to the pond, you can actually start feeding them.
Apart from securing land, pond construction and drilling the borehole, fish feeds Is the basic operational cost in catfish farming business as it takes over 70 percent of the expenses incurred in fishery.
There are different types of fish feeds such as Cuppens, Ziglar, Multi feed, Vita feed and other locally produced feeds. It is always better to start feeding the fishes with Cuppens and Ziglar for the first 2 weeks to 2 months because then you can proceed with Multi feeds, Vita feeds and fish meal.
Also, you can supplement these feeds with other farm bye products such as poultry drops and bear in mind that as the fishes grow from month to month, the size of their feeds should increase as well.
Many farmers suffer huge losses because of the mistake they make in feeding their fishes.
Fishes (especially catfishes) are very sensitive and carnivorous. So, care must be taken in feeding them so as to decrease mortality. Yeah, I said decrease because you must encounter some rate of mortality.
The first thing to note here is that it is very important that you feed your fishes with high quality feeds.
Secondly, you should establish a feeding schedule and follow it consciously to avoid cannibalism. For instance, if you feed your fishes twice daily say by 6am and 6pm, stick to this time because if you constantly fail to supply them food as at when due, your pond is likely to become a war zone where the strong survive by feeding on the weaker ones and that is loss for you.
Also, irregular feeding schedule affects their growth as some fishes may have decreased growth.
Finally, feed them on a particular section of the pond so as to avoid making the water too dirty for the fishes to breathe in oxygen and to minimize food wastage.
As a starter, it is important to ensure you get your fingerlings from a good farm that specializes in supply of fingerlings.
And make sure you get healthy and high yielding species such as the Hthro species (usually a bit brownish in colour).
Also, ensure you sort the fishes according to sizes from periodically.
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