The agricultural sector in Nigeria cannot just be neglected. Youths don't want to be called farmers. Is this an abuse or curse? Well, people seem not to know that what they are neglecting now is a gold mine. Even nowadays, some smart dudes are into farming businesses especially fish farming. Catfish farming is very popular in Nigeria as catfish can survive in harsh environments.
We have tilapia fish farming too but, Tilapia are volatile. One slight mishandling, it's gone (dead). Market demand for tilapia is high and supply is low because not all Nigerian fish farmers have the time to go by Tilapia's care rules. And of course, they are more expensive than catfish.
This guide is basically on rearing catfish as a business. In short, it's about how to start catfish farming in nigeria. We are not going into tilapia fish rearing. Though I am writing a guide on tilapia fish farming, it will not be released as I'm still making some researches on it.
What's Catfish Farming Market Like?
Catfish Farming markets are always available. When you have stocks (fish) to sell, buyers are always available.
Since this guide is not on hatching or selling fries, fingerlings, or juveniles (baby/young fish), we are looking into table size catfish (adult size).
Table size catfish are those ready to be sold. It takes 3 months to attain this stage with a weight over 700g (grams).
Catfish buyers buy on a weight basis, kilograms (KG). And prices differ according to location. For example, Ibadan prices 1kg at #500-#550 while Abuja at #700-#1000 (as at the time of writing this article).
So having 5000 table size catfish in stock of total weight 4200kg sold at Abuja price #800 is worth 3.36 million naira.
And I tell you, investment is not up to 1 million naira.
Now, let's go into what's needed to set up a catfish farming business in Nigeria.
CatFish Farming Requirements
You can start in two ways:
- establishing your own fish farm.
- Renting fish ponds on existing fish farms.
To establish your own farm, you will need suitable land, a swamp area precisely. You can use anywhere to site your farm if you are not looking into making earthen ponds. That means you are going for tanks and concrete ponds.
But, earthen ponds are of greater advantages than their substitutes, I.e, concrete, tanks. There are natural feeds in earthen ponds and it makes a perfect natural environment for them. This makes them not feel captivated and utilizes feeds for growth.
Prerequisites For Fish Pond Construction In Catfish Farming
- Location: This is the very first step to consider, as you must not secure a catfish farm site where there is water runoff. This might expose fish in ponds to harmful organisms. Swampy areas are best for a catfish farming site but not all. As you read other requirements, you will be able to identify a good fish farming ground.
- Water Availability: A very essential need. Make sure water can be gotten easily, that there is a source of water around. Pond water must be clean and fresh, as this also aids good growth and health of fishes. Ensure there is a water inlet and outlet pipe on every pond. You can use water from lakes, rivers, streams, and dug well to fill up your storage tanks and into ponds.
- Climate Condition And History Of The Area: Make deep inquires about the area's climatic condition. How heavy rainfall and storms affect the area. You should also ask if there is no taboo or religious belief against the business you are intending to start (catfish farming). Because improper inquiries might lead to loss of capital and eventually business.
- Soil Type: Not all swampy areas are good for sitting catfish ponds. The best soil type for constructing earthen ponds is clay-loamy soil. This type of soil has the ability to retain water and also mouldable, which means it can not be easily washed off.
- Accessibility: The secured land must be accessible. So transportation of fish would be easy and without any great effects.
CatFish Farming Equipment Needed
- Pumping Machine: For pumping in water into reservoirs or directly from the water source. And also, for pumping out water from ponds.
- Pond nets or Pond covers: These are nets used for covering ponds especially for preventing predators.
- Scoop Nets And Skimmer Nets: For taking out fish in tanks.
- Source of light: Generator
- Drag Nets
- Weighing machine or Scale
- Sorting Table: this is used for sorting fish. This can be based on sizes, specie etc.
- Buckets and Bowls
- Cutlasses and Shovels
Fish feeds must be available. There are different fish feed types; Aqualis, Durante, and so on.
You don't need all the aforementioned information if you are going for option 2 which is, to rent a fish pond on an existing fish farm. The fish farm owner has done the job already.
Renting of ponds is basically priced based on fish pond size. A normal pond that could occupy 2500 fish (at table size) will cost you around #80,000 per year. You can make inquiries from fish farms near you. And the most interesting thing is; you can harvest up to 3 times with the pond. Remember I mentioned earlier that it takes 3 months for a juvenile fish to reach its table size and you are renting the pond for 12 months. You get my point now.
Best Fish Sizes To Start With In CatFish Farming Business
As we have different sizes of fish same as stages, you need to be careful while selecting the catfish stage to stock. this will determine how well you reach your harvesting period and also save you from giving much attention to feeding and drugs.
Stages Of CatFish
- Adult size/stage
It is advisable for new catfish farmers to start catfish rearing at the juvenile stage. At this stage, they would have grown and can endure much more than fry. So, you just introduce them to the pond and start feeding.
Juvenile catfish costs around #25/one. Make sure to get them from a reputable fish farm that does fish hatching. Because most fish farmers don't know how to breed well and this causes a big loss to anyone that buys fish seeds from them. Make an inquiry on a good farm to get your fish seeds.
Feeding Of Catfish
Once you have stocked your fish ponds, do not feed immediately. Leave them for 24 hours before feeding them. By this time, they would have regulated their body temperature with that of the new environment (pond water). If you feed them instantly upon stocking, you are over-stressing them as they will eat, vomit, and might even lead to loss of stocks (fish).
So, when is the right time to feed?
After 24 hours of stocking, feed them. Then, make sure to feed twice daily, morning and evening. Always feed them on a spot. I mean, select a particular section or part of the fish pond that you will be feeding them. They will get adapted to this and there would be even feed distribution.
The Right Time To Harvest A CatFish Pond
You are looking forward to table size right?
If yes, when your fish weighs around 700grams, you are good to harvest. Or you might want to sell at a size of 1kg, then rear till then.
If smoke size fish, it might weigh 500g and ready to sell.
If you are not selling at table size, you can continue to feed them until you desire to, maybe the broodstock stage (over 9-12 months).
How And Who To Sell Catfish To
I mentioned at the beginning of this guide that prices are based on kg and location. So, you determine your price.
But, on who to sell to, you have various options to choose from. You can sell to:
- Event Planners
- Middle Buyers (this kind of people will come to you themselves and they offer good prices too, they constitute the market)
- Fish Smokers (mainly Hausas. They offer cool prices too)
Those are buyers for catfish, as there are more off the list. But I tell you, if the aforementioned people and organizations patronize you, you won't have stocks left as they will buy all and well.
Fish Farming in Nigeria especially catfish farming is a very lucrative business. This is the right time to invest in it as it is not saturated. Make sure to consult an expert for physical teachings and advice before starting.
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