Ever thought about fish farming in Nigeria?
I was discussing with a friend sometimes ago about setting up some businesses. He had it in mind to open up a joint where fish pepper soup is sold, and if possible open up a cool joint alongside.
Then he mentioned something that caught my attention. He said he thought it will be more profitable to own his own fish farming business so that from his farm the fishes can be harvested and used in the pepper soup joint.
What an excellent idea! It simply shows that fish farming can be run alongside other businesses; all it requires is proper planning.
There may be many individuals who are willing to expand their business or start one.
Some have it in mind to go into fish farming but they have little or no idea about what it entails and how to go about it.
Some are not sure if it is profitable or not. This article is aimed at looking into fish farming in Nigeria, what are the necessary things to do to set it up, and how profitable it is.
One of the most popular animal husbandry farming business in Nigeria is fish farming and for good reasons.
Fish farming in Nigeria, over the years, has become a lucrative business in the agricultural sector of the country.
The modern farm practice has made it possible to grow fish in the farms and control the input.
This is easier than getting fish by catching it in the local rivers and ponds through trials and errors. Majorly, people eat fish for health benefits and health reasons.
Now let’s get down to the business of the day by looking into what fish farming is all about.
What Is Fish Farming In Nigeria?
The fish farming system is the system in which fishes are reared for sales or for consumption.
In other words, fish farming entails breeding of different varieties of fishes such as Catfish, Tilapia and Mackerel (Titus), etc.
Fish farming is a knowledge-driven sector, and this underscores the importance of training, self-development, consultation, and management of fishes.
Fish farming is an act of rearing fish for commercial purposes.
This involves building the earthen, tarpaulin or concrete pond, fertilizing the pond, stocking the fingerlings in good water and feeding the fish till it grows to marketable sizes.
Aquaculture is an industry that is currently attracting investors due to its lucrative nature, fertile land for fish, high demands for fish and the low supply in the country.
To make it in this business, it requires having the right knowledge and proper management skills.
With these, high-profit margins are achievable and ensured in this business. Fish farming is the major form of aquaculture (farming of aquatic organisms like fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants).
That’s why the most common fish species fish farmers grow for commercial purposes are Titus, carp, salmon, tilapia, and catfish (while the last two, catfish and tilapia is the most common species in Nigeria fish market).
However, most of the species of fish are not suitable for fish farming business in Nigeria, either because of their nature or because of the low demand in the fish market or the profitability of their species.
Fish could be grown in two ways. These are Extensive and Intensive aquacultures.
Extensive aquaculture is where fish grow under natural water (i.e. river or stream) while intensive aquaculture is where fish are fed with external food supply in an enclosed pond.
The latter is what this article will be addressing.
Reasons for Having a Fish Farm
Fish sells quickly: Fish sells faster than any other animal product in the market and is relatively cheaper than meats therefore it is affordable.
Fish is popular: Fishery products are by far the most popular animal products in the market, and it is readily available in all markets.
Fish matures quickly: Fish grows very fast as practices in fish farming make it possible for farmers to increase the fastness of their fish growth by giving them certain feeds, ensuring that you harvest and sell within a short period of time.
Fish farming is profitable: With proper planning and good management, high profit can be realized within the shortest period of time, say like 6 months.
Fish is a source of protein: Fish is one of the highest sources of protein. It is a low-fat high-quality protein that is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.
Fish is also very rich in calcium and phosphorus and is equally a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.
Fish contains Omega-3: Fish is the biggest source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is extremely beneficial to the human heart.
Omega-3 helps to keep our heart and brain very healthy. Since the human body doesn’t produce Omega-3 fatty acids, the only source through which we can get it is by what we eat, that is where fish come to the rescue.
No environmental hazard: Fish farm does not cause any environmental hazard. Unlike poultry farming, you can start fish farming in Nigeria, anywhere, including residential areas.
Now that the reasons and benefits of setting up a fish farm have been discussed, you no doubt want to know more about types of fish and what will be needed to set up a farm.
Types of Fish You Can Farm
There are varieties of fishes that exist, but only a few of these fishes can be breed.
There are three major fish species that you can choose from and breed on your fish farming.
- Cat Fish: Catfish is the most cultivated in Nigeria.
One good thing about catfish is that it is one of the easiest fish species to cultivate and that is one major attractive part of this type of fish.
So, people naturally flow to the direction of fish species they found to be the easiest to cultivate.
2. Tilapia fish: Tilapia is a breed of fish that lives in fresh shallow water.
Tilapia is very easy to cultivate and very popular in the Nigerian market, it reproduces very rapidly and grows fast too.
Tilapia fish is the easiest and most profitable fish to farm due to its omnivorous diet, mode of reproduction.
Tilapia Fish reared in channels or tanks is considered safe for the environment since their waste and disease is contained and not spread to the public.
3. Mackerel (Titus): Mackerel is the species of fish popularly known as Titus Fish.
All Mackerel Fish is “wild-caught” Because this type of fish live in blue sea water you may consider the possibilities of trying to create salty water similar to the seawater where mackerel can only survive.
From the above examples, it can be seen it is reasonable to focus on farming catfish or tilapia fish.
What You Need To Get Started
The following are basic things needed to start fish farming, including fish farming equipment, either on a small, medium or large scale.
Get a good location for your farm.
Be sure to secure the place preferably with a fence. Get a place not too far from the market.
Get a good source of water
Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result in disaster.
If there is a flowing stream nearby, you can direct it to your farm and make a channel where it flows out.
This way you always have clean water in your pond. If not, the water has to be changed often. A borehole is an equally suitable source of water as the chemically treated water is not healthy for cultivating fish.
Take care of your water.
Water is one of the most important needs of a fish, even more than food.
Fish lives and sustains themselves in water. Water is the source of their oxygen. Fish live in ocean, river, and streams.
Now that we want to raise them intensively, we have to provide a kind of home away from home for them.
Just as good supply and clean oxygen are needed for human survival so is freshwater very important to the life of a fish.
Choose the appropriate fish pond.
This could be concrete, earthen or tank of different sizes (depending on the quantity of fish you want to farm).
Fish can also be bred in plastic, fiberglass or wooden reservoirs. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage.
A pit in the form of a soak-away can be dug close to the pond where the dirty water can be properly discharged.
That way the environment will be neat and clean free from the odor that can come from stagnant dirty water from your pond.
Decide the right species of fish for you either catfish or tilapia fish.
Get healthy fingerling or juveniles from a credible marketer.
Understand fish feeds & feeding. To understand the importance of feeding your fish, read more on livestock feed production.
Feed them well and with quality fish feed. You will not want your fish to be eating each other as that will result in a high rate of mortality.
There are three means of food for your fish:
Natural fish feed. This is found naturally in the pond. This includes; detritus, bacteria, plankton, worms, insects, snails, aquatic plants.
Supplementary fish feed. This usually includes cheap materials locally available such as terrestrial plants, kitchen wastes or agricultural by-products.
If you must use this be sure to include the other types of feeds.
Complete feed. This is a carefully made fish feed. They`re usually of good ingredients and nutrients, made by the experts who understand the perfect formula for the fish at a different stage.
Fish Net. This is used for harvesting fish.
Labor. You may not need labor if you’re starting a small scale fish farm but you’ll need some labor if you’re going on a large commercial scale.
Be business-minded by marketing your fish before they grow-up
Your fish farm can be anywhere, from your backyard to anywhere else and there will be no problem.
As a business-minded fish farmer, you will need to consider how near your farm is to the market where you want to sell to.
How Profitable Is Fish Farming?
It is always a good business decision to first investigate your market, understand the demand, price, your competitors and how you`ll outsmart them.
All these will influence your decision as per, where to situate your fish farm, the cost, and the likely profit.
Since fish is a major component of both Nigeria and foreign dishes, therefore, it means the number of demands for fish will grow.
Also, the market for fish will continue to grow and expand as fish is required for local consumption or for export purposes.
Just like pig farming business, asides being a profitable business in Nigeria, fish farming is capital intensive.
You can make a huge profit by going into fish farming or aquaculture business in Nigeria.
This business can be run successfully and watch it grow and expand into multi-level business within a short time.
There is no doubt that fish farming is among the list of lucrative businesses in Nigeria. You need to get it right by drawing a complete business plan and following it to the letter.
You need to apply good management skills and follow the acceptable standard.
If you do all these, you are sure to make a good profit from your fish farming in Nigeria or anywhere else.
Because of the nature of the business, it is not feasible to state a master plan of the cost of setting up fish farming and the running cost. This is due to varying market situations and locations.
The cost of land, cost of setting up a pond, fish feeds and labor varies from one environment to another.
Therefore do the feasibility study of fish farming in your area using what you have learned in this article as a guide to determine your initial startup capital.
A relatively small fish farm may take up to N150, 000 to set up, while bigger ones can take millions of naira.
Concluding Notes On Fish Farming In Nigeria
Whatever your input in terms of capital is, you can be sure to expect that same amount or a little higher than that as output in terms of profit.
That is after removing the initial startup capital after six months of establishment and good management.
Do you have other business you are running and you are looking for something else to be done concurrently?
Consider venturing into Fish farming. Do you own or plan on setting up fish pepper soup joint, think about including your own fish farm as part of your plans.
You can be sure that fish farming is very profitable.
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