Make Millions in Nigeria : Invest in Catfish Business Today - How to Start
If you`re interested in agribusiness, you might have considered fish farming.
If you`re in Nigeria and considering fish farming, aquaculture of catfish (also known as catfish farming) might be your desired business.
In this tutorial, I will be explaining in detail what I think you need to know and understand about catfish farming in Nigeria and how you can make money through this business.
There are hundreds species of fish among which are; sea trout, cyprinids, pangas catfish, silver seabream, common carp, catla, greasy grouper, bighead carp, Nile tilapia, grass carp, etc. but most of them are not suitable for fish farming in Nigeria.
The most commonly seen fisheries in Nigeria are raising catfish and tilapia, while the former (catfish) is the most common.
Why is this so?
Because catfish is easy to farm in warm climate like Africa, North America, Asia, etc. so popular is catfish business that Ronald Reagan (an ex-US president) established a National Catfish Day on June 25th1987, for Americans.
Catfish (also known as siluriformes) as well has different species, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, heteroclarias, clarias nigro-digitatus, clarias spp and over 300 other species. Catfish is considered a bottom-feeding fish that are found in freshwater and coastal region around the world.
Catfish does has a carnivorous diet 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.
Catfish farmer also need to be aware that some enemies as well prey on catfish, depending on its size and specie.
Bigger fishes, bigger reptiles, mammals and even birds could kill and eat catfish… if situation accommodates their presence together.
Female catfish spawn (that is lay eggs) close to the surface of the water where they are safe from other bottom-dwelling aquatic animals. Female catfish spawn between 10-90 eggs at a time and hatch in less than a week.
Catfish farming is a branch of pisciculture. It`s major form of aquaculture, farming of aquatic organisms like fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. (Forgive me please, if you hate all these academic terminologies).
What a catfish farmer does is to buy catfish fingerlings (juvenile catfish), nurture them for good growth and sell them at profit
9 steps to follow while starting catfish farming in Nigeria
Decide what size your farm will be.
I don`t know what your plan is or who you are, but I’m sure you do. For instance if you`re an employee trying to start a little business by the side or you`re having a little capital, you may decide to start a little backyard fish farm.
If however you`re going into fish farming as a real time business, you may have to consider having a fish pond. The size of your intending farm will determine every other thing.
If you`re having a plan for a little fish farm, you might have the necessary capital. If you`re planning for a big farm, you may read this…how to get capital.
There are advantages and disadvantages to starting with a big fish farm. One major advantage is, you can produce cheaper fish because you can reduce the cost of feeds by buying in bulk or by even having a section of your company producing fish feeds.
The major disadvantage to starting big is that if you`re starting out you`re inexperienced. Starting big could be harmful.
Understand catfish market in your area.
Since your objective is to make profit, you have to investigate the level of demand for the catfish in your area. If you`re planning of locating your catfish farm elsewhere other than your immediate environment, you have to go to your intending market and do some market research.
Try and find out the market price of an average catfish, the level of demand and (maybe) the time of the year catfish sell most. One very important thing to note is that, your fish needs a ready market.
Market women, hotels, restaurants are the target places you should look into.
Fish is not a durable product that can be stored. They can only be sold as fresh livestock.
If you`re not having a ready market, you may be forced to keep many grown up fish in your pond. You will still be feeding them while they should have been sold. This is reducing your profit. Worst, when the fish in your pond grow to a point where the environment is too crowded for them, you may be expecting some disease outbreak.
So, make sure you research properly about the catfish market in your environment.
Get your cost.
If you do number 2 above very well, you must have understood your intending market. You must have understood how much you`re likely to sell xxx numbers of catfish.
You must have understood how high the demand for your product… catfish, is in your market.
The next thing to do is to try and know your cost.
Just as I wrote in our tutorial about fish farming in Nigeria, the cost of any business is very relative. It`s relative because the environments are different. The amount you buy certain thing (i.e. fish feed) in town X may not be what you`ll buy the same thing in town W.
Now that you want to get the cost of starting a fish farm in your environment, you`ll have to familiarize yourself with the economic situations in your environment.
The best way to do this is to move out and ask questions.
You`ll want to get the cost of things you need to get started.
If you`re planning to start big, you may need a bole hole, a tank, a fish pond, dependable electricity to pump water and some staff to work with you.
You will as well have to get the price of the feeds you`ll need for your catfish.
The reason why I usually avoid talking about the cost or price on this website is because cost, price or profit are all relative.
Take for instance, the amount you`ll need to acquire an acre of land to build a fish pond in Lagos may be enough to take care of all your cost in certain part of Oyo state and the price you will sell an average catfish in Abuja may be what you`ll sell two in Kogi.
With this understanding, you`ll see that it doesn`t make a lot of sense to conclude that xxx naira is what you`ll need to start a catfish farm and xxx naira is what you`ll make.
The best (I think), is to advise you to go out and investigate both your cost and your likely profit. How much can a pond be built in your environment? How much can you get a bole hole done? How much can you get a tank to store water? Then, how much can you get 100, 500 or 1000 catfish fingerlings?
Know who your competitors.
I cannot forget reading a book about war, called The Art of War by Sun Tzu, a war strategist. The author said, if you understand your enemy and yourself, you`ll win all battles.
I have said it before that business is a war. Business is about winning market share. Are there some fisheries in your market before? Most likely they are.
How are they doing? How much of the market demand are they satisfying? Where in your market is yet to be served? Is there any way you could attract more fish retailers to your farm?
Could your have your farm where the cost of labour is reduced so as to sell at competitive price in your market? Could you produce your catfish feeds yourself so as to be able to sell at a competitive price?
All these factors are what you`ll need to consider before venturing into fish farming business in Nigeria. If you don`t, you may fail.
Don`t build your pond yourself, if you don`t know how to.
The catfish pond should be built according to the standard requires to ensure that your fish grow well. Consult some nearby fish farmers who have ponds for advice.
Even if every other thing is alright, a bad pond can kill your profit.
Acquire knowledge, learn and seek a mentor.
If you`re like most Africans, you probably hate to read. Africans hate knowledge, and that`s the major reason why we are poor. I don`t want to preach too much here but let me use this instance to explain what I mean.
I`m presently competing in a market. I have taken my time to research my major competitors and discovered they`re two (others can easily be overthrown). Since they`ve been in this business 5-6 years ahead of me, you can assume that it will take me eternity to win them.
They are Africans. After some findings about them I found out that they lack some vital business skills. Though I will have to work hard, but in matter of twelve months, I should pull them off… simply by knowing what they don`t know.
To say that Knowledge is power is an understatement.
Business knowledge can be the difference between someone who makes #50,000 per month and another person who makes #500,000 per month.
The weapon we`re using is knowledge. If I have some deep knowledge about catfish breeding and farming, marketing,negotiation, leadership etc. and you want to compete with me, having no business knowledge, I will kill you in the market place.
It`s compulsory you educate yourself in the art of business.
Read business books (you may click here), ask people questions, find a mentor if you can or you`ll employ someone who is experienced and make him your partner
Take care of your feeds and water.
Catfish is known as freshwater animal. Poor quality water alone can kill your productivity. The best sources of water are borehole and river. Rain water and tap water from treated source is not good for your fish.
You`ll also need to check to be sure that your water is not acidic. Acidic water is bad for fish. To check this, you`ll need to buy a PH meter, read your water and see the acid level.
Also about the feeds. Your fish must be well feed. Your feeds should contain proper nutrients like lysine, arginine and methionine. Some farmers use local meals to feed their fish.
This idea may be good provided those meals contain the required nutrients your fish need. You have to remember to increase your fish feeds as they grow, or else, you`ll underfeed them.
Generally speaking, record keeping is an integral part of every business. There is no exception here. Keep perfect records of your cost, expenses and the number of fish in certain pond. As a matter of rule, record keeps you aware about your progress and success.
Watch out for fish diseases.
We human beings get sick, so do animals. Just as you`ll want to take a diligent care of your little child, so must you take care of your animals in aquaculture business.
Fish is a very delicate animal, just like chickens. You have to watch out for symptoms of diseases.
When you observe symptoms 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.
Fungal infections (often secondary to another type of illness) could reveal symptoms such as: scratching, erratic swimming, darting, etc.
Parasitic infections could reveal symptoms such as: loss of appetite, visible spots or worms, rapid breathing, scratching, inactivity, excess mucus or film on body, etc.
All these possible diseases require that a fish farmer pays attention to details and takes care of his fish as his child (Lol)
Disease is your single biggest enemy that stands against the success of your fish farming business because disease outbreak could lead to loss of a whole fish farm.
Make sure you spend some time (at least one month) in a fish farm nearer to you or wherever you have a guidance or mentor.
Ask question, so many questions and get the phone number of someone you can call to ask more questions as you`ll continue learning how to breed catfish properly.
My last words…
It`s always better to walk slowly when you don`t know the road very well.
Everyone going into business wants to make money… fast… yet, there is a learning curve.
I visited a friend of mine sometimes ago and saw his little poultry which contained about 10 chickens. While discussing, he told me he was using them to learn how chicken behave and grow, what challenges must be dealt with etc.
That man is very wise.
I really wish you best as you`ll be going into fish farming.
Please read this great tutorial about fish farming