Many times, people have asked questions like: how to start your own fish farm, how to start fish farming in Nigeria? Etc.
And most of this times, no answers have been provided.
Before I began writing this particular blog post, I did a lot of book reading and attended a lot of farms to get firsthand experience as the answers I got online were not comprehensive enough. This is what inspired this article; I hope to give out as much details as I regarding fish farming in Nigeria.
So have you read somewhere the importance of fish farming to humans? Are you anticipating starting your very own fish farm? Are you an entrepreneur burning with desire for fish farming? Then this article is for you.
Every year the federal government of Nigeria spends millions of naira to meet up the domestic demand for fish especially catfish and Titus. With domestic production reaching 600,000 tons as against the ever increasing demand which is at 2.1 million per year. There exist without a doubt higher demand than supply.
Importance of Fish Farming
There are plans by the federal government of Nigeria to stop the import of 700,000 metric tons of fish and the reason for this is simply to increase domestic production. As expected, this has been opening more opportunities for aspiring, new and old farmers to start aquaculture.
Fish is one of the best and cheap sources of protein often recommended by health organizations for both young and old due to it containing low cholesterol.
Fish farming business is one of the most lucrative businesses you can start in Nigeria. With return on investment almost 100%
The water the fish housing the fish for some days serves as a good source of fertilizer for the plant, as it contains useful essential nutrients needed for plant growth.
Fish farming business is an environmentally friendly business which poses no environmental hazards health risk.
Due to an higher demand than its supply, fish meat is sold faster because domestic farmers are yet to meet the demand.
Fish farming in Nigeria
Many varieties of fishes are cultivated in Nigeria; the most popular ones are tilapia fish and catfish. Catfish is by far the most popular fish that is farmed in Nigeria today. It’s easy to cultivate and prepared for exportation.
The growth in tilapia fish farming has also recorded an increase as there is a BOOM in a number of fish farmers trying it. Commercial bred Tilapia has lower omega 3 fatty acid than the one bred in sea water.
How to start your fish farming
The following steps are the procedures to be followed to enable you start your fish farm in Nigeria.
Note: each step must be properly done if you truly want to be successful.
Step #1: Acquire your land
The first thing to do is land acquisition. A land of size 100×100 can accommodate ponds that can be used to stock up to 10000 fingerlings. This pond can raise these fingerlings to broad stock.
Build your ponds using 50meter per square. Use 25 meters per square for your store and farm house and the remaining 25 meter per square for expansion. When buying your land, make sure it’s in a water logged area.
Step #2: Get good water supply
You’ll need water for the growth of the fish; this is the reason why you should get a water logged area. Alternatively, you can dig a borehole for the farm as these can give you assurance of countless water supply.
Step #3: Acquire knowledge
Get to know the fish farming methods or how the farm works. Knowing when to change the water, how to sort the fishes according to their age and sizes, methods of feeding and managerial practices are all part of what you need to know. Every year, new farming methods are being innovated, getting to know the farming method that best works for you is key to your business success.
Step #4: Start marketing your product
Do not wait until your fishes are ready for the market before you begin marketing them. Start marketing the moment they are almost full grown so that people will begin to know what you do and your farm.
If the primary focus of your farm is producing fingerlings and selling it, then early marketing will be very beneficial in building your customer base.
What does it takes to start?
Let me do a quick fish farm business plan including financial analysis so that you know what it takes to begin this business.
A 100×100 land can breed up to ten thousand fingerlings to the required size for the market. Depending on the location, a land size of 100×100 should cost between NGN1, 000,000 -NGN1, 500,000.
For those who have an extra space in their backyard, they can equally use the space to build aqua ponds.
With about 450,000 naira, you can sink a borehole and build an overhead tank for storing the water.
If you will be buying fingerlings, it sells for 30-40 naira(depending on size and breed).
4.) Fish farm housing
Thanks to advancement of tech which has made available many types of fish farming housing in Nigeria. Amongst the earthen pond, we have the earthen pond: which is the most popular.
Constructing an earthen fish pond requires the services of an architect who will provide the required estimate.
There is also the half tank ponds which are becoming more popular by the minute. The 5000-litre tank goes for about NGN45, 000-60,000 (depending on your location) and can raise up to 400 fishes. The half tank is good for those who want to start a backyard farm.
There are different fish feeds in the market. It all boils down to personal preference. To raise 100 fish from fingerlings to broad stock, you’ll need approximately four bags of feed. If you are looking to grow 1000, you’ll need 40 bags.
Succeeding in fish farming in Nigeria
Don’t overdo things by biting more than you can chew. Starting small gives you the required knowledge to learn how fish farming works. The advantage of starting small is you’ll get to know the dos-don’ts of the business and the mistakes won’t be beyond your capacity to rectify.
Know your target market
Ask yourself the following questions:
– Who is your target market?
– How do they need the product?
–How do they want the product?
– How are you going to reach them?
Knowing all the answers to these questions makes it easier to market and sell your product.
Manage your business wisely and expansion becomes easy
Your number one enemy in your business could be your “definition of success”. Most people think it will be all smooth and easy from the beginning (sure it will) if you manage your farm as a business only to realize that if proper care is not taken, it could lead to disaster for the business owner and the business itself.
Never make the mistake of wasting your money by buying things that won’t grow or add value to your business. Your first five profits are required to be reinvested in the business towards expansion. The more you expand, the more you dominate the business.
Keep updating yourself
Don’t stick to one method of doing things and think it’s the ultimate method. Keep improving yourself with new methods of fish farming.
Be open to welcome change and when there is a new method, it’s simply reminding you that the old method won’t give you what you want. Updating yourself always makes you manage your fish farm effectively and the desired result certainly will be achieved.
Take your fish farm as a business
If you’re in the fish farming business with the intention of a get rich quick scheme, you might be in for a surprise. My advice would be to eradicate that notion from your farm mind because Success in business comes in a gradual process.
Don’t think you know it all. Get some expert advice. It might seem like spending a lot of money but it actually saves you from losses that may arise.
Sorting is a continues process
Truth is, no matter how good the fish breeds you selected are, there may be a few that might not grow (in size, shape or speedy growth) as you want. Sorting or separating them should be a continues process to avoid the big ones eating the small ones.
Risk taking is part of any business; don’t be afraid to take one.
Never give up, keep moving and keep learning
Challenges of fish farming in Nigeria
Although fish farming is a profitable business in Nigeria, there are certain challenges faced by some farmers.
Note: I say this not to scare you but to prepare your mind for the journey ahead and to ensure you identify, avoid or tackle issues to attain success.
1.) Poor fish breed
Poor fish breed will not help the fish grow as expected and there will be variations in the sizes of the fishes. At their fingerling stage, you won’t know their sizes until they’re 4-6 weeks old before you start noticing it.
Never agree to buy fingerlings from a farm unless you see the parent breed. Ensure that you ask or see the fish growth from the farm before you go ahead. A good fish breed gives you the maximum benefit.
2.) Poor water supply
Before starting a fish farm, ensure that there is an abundance of good water supply. Because fish grows in water and the water is often changed in days. It’s always safer and better to get a land where you can sink your borehole which gives you the guaranteed water for the farm.
3.) Farm location
The important need for land with good water supply and accessibility to the market has been and will always be a serious challenge to most farmers.
Most commercial feeds are quite expensive. And the price will continue to rise. For maximum benefit, you should look for ways to start compounding (formulating your feed yourself) your own feed.
5.) Packaging your product
Fish farms are beginning to package their fish to attract and build more market for their farms. Installing fish smoking oven or furnace to smoke your fish makes it easier to sell your product. Today in Nigeria, there are a lot of farms packaging their smoked fish and exporting it to foreign countries like China and USA.
Today, owning a fish smoking kiln in Nigeria is simple. All you’ll need to do is to purchase the machine. This aids fish farming in Nigeria.