Do you have any idea of how to start catfish farming in Nigeria? Right from the days of old, fish has been an integral part of man’s feeding and survival as it is enriched with essential nutrients for the body.
There is a high demand for it for people of all ages due to its high possession of protein. Also, fish is very affordable to everyone both for feeding and for business.
Fish is used in different forms, it can be turned into varieties for business- dried fish, stockfish, fried fish, barbeque fish, grilled fish and the likes.
Even though there are different kinds of fish farming in Nigeria, our focus in this article is on catfish farming. This is the act of rearing one of the diverse group of ray-finned fish in large quantities for commercial purpose in Nigeria.
This involves the construction of various ponds ranging from earthen, concrete or tarpaulin ponds, stocking the fry, fingernails or juveniles and feeding the fish till table size or market size.
Catfish are also carnivorous in nature since it feeds on insects, worms that are close to the river (or pond), along with amphibians such as frogs and newts and occasionally small reptiles and mammals.
We’d be looking at some things concerning catfish business.
In a warm climate like Africa, North America, Asia, catfish is easy to farm. It is so popular that Ronald Reagan (an ex-US president) established a National Catfish Day on June 25th 1987, for Americans.
Catfish can be seen as one of the most popular fish because it is found all over Nigeria. All tribes enjoy this and it is also able to resist harsh conditions and environment.
Catfish business is highly profitable and has a great taste in whatever way it is being prepared. Over 253,898 metric tons is produced per year.
From the catfish, there are many other products that can be gotten thereby increasing the value of this fish, the products include: catfish oil, catfish soap, catfish body cream and other businesses that can be done alongside catfish business.
Fish is a major source of protein to the human body, and also provides 40% of the dietary intake of animal protein.
Because fish and fish produce constitute more than 60% of the total protein of the average Nigerian, it is an excellent source of sulphur and essential amino acids such as lysine, leucine, valine, and arginine.
It is also suitable for supplementing diet of high carbohydrates content.
A major source of thiamine as well as an extremely rich source of Omega-3 polysaturated fatty acids, fat soluble vitamins (A, D and E) and water soluble vitamins (B complex) and minerals ( Calcium, phosphorus, iron, Iodine, and selenium).
It also have a high content of polyunsaturated (omega iii) fatty acids, which are important for reducing blood cholesterol level and high blood pressure.
It also reduces the risk of sudden death, lowers the risk of age related muscular degeneration and vision impairment, and decrease the risk of bowel cancer
The major advantage of starting a large scale catfish farm is that it reduces the cost of feed when buying in bulk.
The major disadvantage to starting big is it might lead to great loss of you’re a novice in this field. Starting big without any experience is very harmful.
Understand catfish farming’s market in your area.
Since the major goal of every business is to make profit, before you venture into this business, you have to make enquiries about the level of demand of the fish in your particular area.
That is, make your market research. Make findings such as; the price of the fishes, size of the fish, how high it’s being demanded for and the time it’s highly demanded for.
Fish is not a durable good, it’s best sold as live and fresh product so it needs a ready market. Examples of places to target are hotels, restaurant, bars and the likes.
After doing the above properly, you should know the cost of venturing into the business. By now you should know if you’re going into the intensive or extensive method.
The cost of the business depends on the method of farming. You’d check the cost of maintenance, cost of feeding, cost of pond, cost of medicine and so on.
Your cost also depends on your area. Get familiar with people and things of that area, ask questions.
You`ll want to get the cost of things you need to get started.
If you want to go in big, you may need a bole hole, a tank, a fish pond, dependable electricity to pump water and some staff to work with you
How much will it cost to build a pond, how deep will it be, how much water can get into the pond and how many fishes will it contain? These are some few questions u ask yourself before planning to build a pond.
It’s either you’re experienced and can build your own pond or you get an expert on that aspect. They will assist you in answering all questions pertaining to pond construction. You can start loosing business profit when your pond is bad.
An author once said, if you understand your enemy and yourself, you`ll win all battles.
Understand the market and your competition, know how they are doing and how much of the market demand they are meeting and how u can attract more retailers to your self, being more creative.
Where do I locate my farm so as to reduce it cost if production and labour, where getting access to fish feeding isn’t quite exorbitant.
All these are questions needed to be answered before you venture into the business. Failure to do all this can lead to the end of the business.
Find and Identify Your Mentor
Another notable thing to do is having a mentor and acquiring knowledge by studying your competitors and others that are successful in this field.
Many Africans in this field don’t plan on acquiring much that’s why out of many that dive into this business, we have a handful with a very huge turn of profit
The difference between those with high profit and others is the acquisition of knowledge.
Catfish needs constant checking and care especially when it comes to their feeding and water.
Identify The Water Source For Your Business
They are freshwater animal, therefore, bad water alone can kill your catfish farming business. The best sources of water are borehole and river.
Rain water and tap water from treated source is not good for your fish.
Also check the acidity of the water, to do this, a PH meter is used. It checks both water and acid level. An acidic water is bad for the fish.
Also about the feeds. Your fish must be well fed. Your feeds should contain proper nutrients like lysine, arginine and methionine. Some farmers use local meals to feed their catfish.
Keep Regular Account Records
Learn the act of record keeping for all aspect of the business. Proper record keeping helps to check out for cost, expenses, number of fishes in the ponds.
It shows the profit, loss or break even of the business, it shows the progress of the business.
As humans get sick, but adults and children. As all animals also get sick, so also does the catfish.
The way we take care of ourselves when sick, so should we do to our fishes.
Look out for signs like inactivity, loss of colour, frayed fins, bloated body, cloud eyes, open sores, red streaks throughout body, difficult breathing, reddening or inflammation of skin etc., you can suspect bacterial infections.