He Started His Fish Farming Business with 14k and Now Has More Than 10 Farms

This kind of Success story always gladdens my heart when i am previlege to share them here with farmers across the world, I always emphasize one stable truth, you can always start small no matter how big the dream is, you are not restricted by funds and most of this little things, its just a matter of time, but you must start 1st, Here also I shared the story of a Nigeria Fish Farmer that failed in his fish farming Business before he eventually picked up and succeeded.

Late on Tuesday night, I drove into the expansive car park of UI Hotels for a meeting I scheduled with Jasper Ezirim. Do you remember Jasper? He's the cucumber farmer with more than seven farms and a network of farms around the country (you can read his story here Jasper Chidera Ezirim: My Cucumber Story, The Seven Curses of Nigerian Farming ; Other Things I Learnt By Bayo Adeyinka .

 As we discussed, another young man called Fola joined us and Jasper introduced him as the Manager of his farm in Ogbomoso. 

Fola is a graduate of Agricultural Engineering- you would have thought he was a banker with the way he dressed.

While we were lost in our conversation, a car drove into the parking lot and a third fellow joined us. I noticed he had a bounce to his steps and he was very lively and chatty. He wore a dark T-Shirt and looked like someone who just had a shower after a hard day's job. His handshake was firm.

 That was my introduction to Akin Asher whom Jasper referred to as "one of the people we work together". "He is also a street evangelist", Jasper told me.

That night, my hope for this entity called Nigeria was rekindled. As I listened to Akin's story, I was glad that I made the appointment even though I was dog-tired. Not only is Akin a fish farmer, he has also brought some innovation into that branch of agriculture. Akin started his foray into agriculture in 2011 but concentrated totally on aquaculture in February 2014. According to him, he concentrated on aquaculture because that was the venture that 'maximized his available resources at that time- water, space and time to run a MSc programme and still be committed to his religious pursuits".

Akin started with a sum of N14,000- yes, N14,000 only. That was the cost of his first fish tank.

 As I listened to him, I wondered why many people think they need a whole lot of capital to start their business. 

One good idea is better than having so much capital. Akin bought 500 pieces of fingerlings and a bag of feed for N5,400 and the journey started. 

I asked him if it had been a successful venture all through? " I lost almost half of the fish after 5 months and I didn't even have a fish weighing up to 1 kg!", he said. 

That was enough to discourage anyone but Akin. 

His determination was rock solid and his passion for what he was doing knew no bounds. " I was committed to it.

 I visited a lot of fish farms, learnt what I had done wrong and how to be more efficient in my rearing", he said.
Read on after the cut....

Akin bought another tank. He purchased another set of fingerlings and tried again. This time, he got better results. But then, he spotted an opportunity. While going round fish farms, he started taking notice of how the stocking density, sorting and surface area impacted on the growth of fish. He also needed more tanks for fish and he knew he could not build a permanent structure of concrete pond- it wasn't his own house or building. He also knew the earthen pond comes with it's own disadvantages and challenges. He decided to place an order for a mobile pond. But then that was too expensive- it was over-priced to him. He decided to dig a bit deeper and started a search online. He identified the base material and saw a few companies he could order the material from. The major item he needed is called hope- high density polyethylene. He placed an order for hope, tried to build a mobile pond and failed.

Not one to give up easily, he made several attempts until he finally built one successfully. His new invention however had some teething challenges- he couldn't drain water easily and the weight was not balanced. He kept on tweaking until he now got a perfectly working inexpensive mobile fish pond. And I use the word 'inexpensive' because the cost will blow your mind. This invention has it's unique advantages- it's not a permanent structure, it does not devalue the land like the earthen pond, can be set up in any available space like a garage, back yard, incomplete buildings or even the frontage of the house! In addition, the mobile pond Akin created has no need to treatment, liming or fertilizing amongst many other advantages. I was even told you can fold the mobile pond and put it at the back of your car!

Not one to just stop at one level of the business, Akin decided to drive the value chain opportunities. He knew that he could add more value to the business and get paid more for it. In his own words, " I started oven-drying my fish when I noticed the ones sold in the market contain stones, sometimes maggots and are full of unhealthy carbon content. My oven-dried fish is carbon/smoke free, stone/maggot free and ready to cook". He told me the oven-dried fish could stay in perfect condition for up to 3 months- and Jasper confirmed it.

I asked him at what point he broke even in his fish business. " It took after the first 3 batches of fish for me to break even. I made many mistakes along the way that were avoidable but were beneficial in my learning", he said. Now, Akin has 10 fish tanks of his own and several fish farms he consults for. I asked him if the fish paid his bills and if he had any regret going into the business. He replied, " I haven't worked a white collar job for one day post-NYSC. I wrote my CV for the first time this year and submitted it for a WHO job offer that I didn't get thankfully". Thankfully? I thought to myself how someone can be thankful for missing out on an international job offer. Akin added, "Seriously, fish business is paying my bills".

Before we parted ways that night, he went into his vehicle and brought 2 packs of oven-dried fish to sell to me and my friend who accompanied me at N1,000 per pack. I left praying that God will raise many more of Akin, Fola and Jasper in this country.

Are you inspired by this story?
Share with friends and please if you have an awesome story like this to share with fellow farmers in Nigeria and across, the world kindly make use of the contact box below the website, i will publish your story like this to motivate others.

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