How to start a Catfish Farm Business in Nigeria in 10 Steps
- 1 How to start a Catfish Farm Business in Nigeria in 10 Steps
- 2 What is Catfish Farming?
- 3 Pros and Cons of starting a Catfish Farm
- 4 How to Start a Catfish Farm in 2021?
- 5 Basic Requirements to Start a Catfish Farm in 2021
- 6 Conclusion
Starting a catfish business or farm in Nigeria in 2021 is really a sure deal for anyone who is thinking of starting any form of business. Catfish farming will cost you a fortune and nothing will be made from the business if you do not employ the right technique when starting your catfish farm. For a start, having a proper catfish business plan will save you a lot of cost and help you put up a clear cut analysis on what you are to expect in the long run.
What is Catfish Farming?
May be you just stumbled on a post or you really want to understand what catfish farming is all about, then let’s roll. Catfish farming involves farming a specific species of fish called catfish. According to Wikpedia, Catfish are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat’s whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the three largest species alive
Catfish is popular among the people of the Niger Delta region in Nigeria and have been farmed from time immemorial. A catfish is a dark looking fish with long bones around the neck area, the fish can be harmful if not tamed as it spins from one spot to another. It is best eaten with white rice and can also be eaten as pepper soup. Catfish is a sweet meal when properly prepared and is recommended even for pregnant women.
Types of Catfish Farming
Catfish farming is made up of two very important process:
1.The Nursery Fish farming:
The nursery involves the inducement of the female fish to lay eggs, which are then fertilized, incubated and hatched
2. Grow Out Fish Farming:
The grow out fish farming is dependent of the nursery fish farming because you can’t grow fish without the nursery.
Those little fishes are known as the fries. These fries are then nurtured from between three and four weeks into fingerlings which is the size suitable for use in the Grow Out farming. A catfish farming is a major investment operation. Before starting a catfish farm, one needs careful consideration as any major mistake will lead to a blow. Not to worry, that is why we have put up this article on how to start a catfish farm in 2021.
Pros and Cons of starting a Catfish Farm
Everything that has an advantage also has a disadvantage, same with starting a catfish farm business. Below are some pros and cons of starting a catfish farm in 2021.
Pros of starting a Catfish Farm
1 Catfish farm can yield a lot of profit in a short time.
2 Available market to easily sell your product.
3 Catfish do not die easily; in fact, it can survive very harsh conditions.
4 Minimal cost of start-up when properly planned with good marketing strategy.
Cons of starting a Catfish Farm
1 Often associated with high start-up and overhead costs.
2 According to the Kentucky State University Aquaculture Program, those who do not have farming experience will have a more difficult time starting and running a catfish fishery compared to those who do.
3 High cost of maintenance
4 Poor weather condition can rubbish your plans.
How to Start a Catfish Farm in 2021?
If you are ready to start your catfish business, below are some tried and tested procedures you should follow.
1 Draft a proper catfish business plan
The importance of having a business plan for your catfish business cannot be over emphasized. Before even thinking of how to start your catfish farm in 2021, you should have a working business plan that encompasses your vision, purposes and everything that will make your catfish business successful in no time. You can check out this Catfish Business plan which we drafted, it may be of essential use to you.
2 Secure Money/ Finance to Start the Business
According to Texas A&M University, it costs up to $2,970 per acre to start a catfish fishery as of 2005. This figure must have doubled in 2021. With a proper catfish business plan, you can kick start your business with adequate loan from either the government or private individuals. Source for finance using any legal means and make sure you capture everything in your catfish business plan. Once you secure financing, you move to the next step.
3 Acquire a Land
Every business requires land to be done and so do catfish. Acquiring a land separate from any residential area will be advisable. Also note that the location of the pond should have vehicle access, it should be made of a compact soil, be free of silt, be 4 to 6 feet deep and have a gently sloping bottom. A good starting size for a catfish pond is 1 to 5 acres or more, depending on your budget anyways.
4 Construct the pond.
If the land already has a pond on it, you can use it for your fishery, buying a land which has been used for fishery before can save you lots of costs. If the land does not have a pond already it will be advisable to get a good engineer to construct a pond for you.
Also, you can use a bare land but you have to trim the land and arrange it the best way possible. Add clay to the land if you cannot afford a constructed pond. At this time, also install the oxygen meter, agitators and aerators.
5 Fill the pond with catfish
The number of catfish to stock in your pond depends on its size, the aeration system you installed, your experience level with aquaculture, the size of your market and the amount of business risk you are willing to accept. To help ensure the health of your catfish, purchase vaccinated fingerlings that you have had tested for diseases by an independent lab. Before placing the fingerlings into the pond, temper water in their transport tanks with water from the pond so they are not stressed by the change in water.
6 Employ workers to Manage the Catfish Business for you
Employing experienced workers to manage your business will give you better results. Someone who watches over the fish at every point in time will be of great help especially if you will not be available all the time.
7 Feed the fingerlings catfish feed.
Each small fish will eat 3 percent of its body weight daily. The warmer the temperature of the water, the more the fish will eat. When the water temperature is over 66 degrees, you should feed the catfish daily. The ideal water temperature for catfish is 85 degrees, but they can survive in temperatures of 45 degrees. Store the food in feed bins that you keep in a cool, dry location so as to avoid spoilage.
8 Employ workers
Having workers who can manage your farm is very important. Go for experienced workers who know the in and out of catfish farming.
9 Fumigate Your Farm
Always fumigate your farm against pests so as to prevent disease and contamination. If you are using the artificial method, always change the water so as to keep the environment clean always.
10 Harvest the catfish when they weigh 0.75 to 4 pounds
After putting in the hard work to start your catfish business, the next thing is to expect some good news that the fishes have matured. You can go ahead to harvest and sell to your buyers or eat some, why not? LOL.
Basic Requirements to Start a Catfish Farm in 2021
- A Deep and Wide Pond with Provision for Adequate Inflow and Outflow of Water
To ensure adequate growth of your catfishes, two things are essential:
- A pond with the right depth and width to ensure adequate comfort and growth for your fishes; often, the deeper a pond, the better.
- Consistent inflow and outflow of “good quality water” to ensure optimal growth of your fishes; by good quality water, I mean natural flowing clean water coming from a stream or river.
If I were to stock 1,500 – 2,000 fishes, an ideal pond for me will be a pond that is square in shape, 50ft x 50ft wide and that has a depth of at least 4 feet.
A pond designed for 1,500 fishes, all things being equal, can be used to raise 3,000 fishes effectively if you can guarantee 24/7 inflow and outflow of water. That’s how important water is.
- A Waterlogged Land
For most catfish farmers, especially if you are to do this on a large scale, this is the ideal option if you will be digging your own ponds.
You want to purchase land you’ll dig your ponds on, or rent your ponds, in a waterlogged area; ideally, you want your land in an area close to a stream, where you can be assured water is available and flowing 24/7.
This makes it easy to consistently channel water into your pond, thereby neutralizing and refreshing the polluted water in the pond consisting of waste from your fishes, remnants of the food you give to them, etc.
You can’t have your fish pond dug on dry land; it just wouldn’t work that way.
That said, some people prefer to use a concrete pond system, or tanks to raise their fishes; in that case, they are able to retain water without having to worry that the earth will absorb it. If you go this route, your location doesn’t really matter as long as you can get adequate supply of water.
- A Lot of Water
Good quality water is a fish farmer’s best friends.
Ensuring optimal quality of water for your fishes will not only guarantee that they eat and grow well, but it will also reduce the chances of them being infected or having diseases.
Catfishes often get infections through dirty and polluted water, and if their water isn’t constantly being refreshed with high quality, natural, clean water you shouldn’t be surprised if you get to your farm one day to find hundreds of fishes dead and floating in your pond.
- Good Juveniles from a Reliable Source
It took me so long to realize the importance of good juveniles.
My teacher had always emphasized the importance of getting juvenile fishes from good sources but I didn’t realize the essence of what he has been saying until I did my first round of fish farming.
The fishes I stocked in a particular pond stopped eating well after 2 months, and there was nothing I could do to make them eat more, making their growth really stunted compared to other fishes stocked at the same time, and I recorded a loss as a result.
A lot of factors go into breeding catfishes; in an attempt to rush things, some breeders will use fishes that are not mature enough to hatch their fishes, or they will sell juveniles that are not up to standard to their clients. The result is often weak fishes that die when they experience little stress, or fishes that do not eat and grow well.
Fishes that eat well are also almost good fishes; if you see a source of catfish where the fishes are responding well to feeding, it is most likely a good source.
Good juveniles should be anything from 7 – 9 weeks old from scratch, and they should average anything from 7 – 15 grams per fish depending on the source.
- Protective Nets
Whether you stock in an earthen pond, a concrete pond or a tank, you want to be sure to net your pond as soon as you stock your juveniles.
Birds, monitor lizards and other predators really enjoy eating baby catfishes, and if you’re not careful you’ll be lucky to meet one third of what you really stocked at the end of the day.
Be sure to net your pond until your fishes are at least 2 months old from juvenile stage; you can decide to later remove the net, or you can keep it till you harvest if it doesn’t hinder your activities.
- Adequate Fish Feed
While starting your catfish farm business, you have to if possible keep money aside for fish feeds. You can get fish feeds in your local stores and markets. There also locally made foods that are rich in nutrient that can be used to supplement the industry made feeds. Palm kernel is a very good example.
- A Good Fence
Having a good fence surrounding your land will prevent intruders and damage to be done to your farm. When starting a catfish farm, no stone should be left unturned so as to avoid running into losses.
Learning how to start a catfish farm business can be very tasking but when you follow all the procedures we have listed above an complied with the requirements, it will be a lot easier for you to start your catfish business and make lots of profits.
Is Catfish Business Profitable?
Yes, catfish business can give you as much as 50 percent return on investment when managed properly. You can be cashing out some huge currencies if you manage your catfish farm properly.
Can I Start Catfish Farm as a Side Business?
Yes, you can start catfish farm as a side hustle and make a lot of profit in that matter. All you have to do is to hire a worker whose business will be to watch over the fish in your absence.
Is Catfish Farm Business Competitive?
There are lots of catfish farmers all over the world but be rest assured you will make it in the market so long as your fishes are healthy.
Where will I Sell my Fish when they Mature?
The market is very open and catfish will be sold immediately it is brought to the market so long as they are healthy.