From the average home to pepper soup joints, the demand for catfish is indeed very high. Catfish farming in Nigeria consists of two most important types, which could either be operated separately or as an integrated process. The two divisions are the Nursery Fish farming and the Grow-Out Fish Farming. The grow-out fish farming is dependent on the nursery fish farming because you can't grow fish without the nursery.
But, like I said, they can be operated separately by two different farmers. The nursery involves the inducement of the female fish to lay eggs, which are then fertilized, incubated and hatched. Those little fishes are known as 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.
Catfish farming is a major investment operation. Therefore before starting, one needs careful consideration. In between the nursery and grow-out operation is what we referred to as the primary operation. It involves the nurturing of the three to four weeks within which they could grow into post-fingerlings, mini juveniles and juveniles respectively. These can then be nurtured for between four to five months into grow-out or table size fish suitable for sales and consumption.
Having said that, it is pertinent to mention I have yet to see a fish farmer in Lagos who operates a standard fish farm. Perhaps a certain Kingdom Aquarium in Jakande area of Lagos could be an exception. Aside operating a fish farm, the owner also imports fishing and maintenance equipment.
You need not worry about marketing, there is always a market for catfish. Apart from point & kill joint, pepper soup shops, there are those fish sellers who are always on the look-out for fresh supply. An average catfish go for N500. Imagine selling off 300 pieces on weekly basis.
What Are The Requirements:
An open space or land (one has to acquire at least half plot of land in a suitable location. This means, you must consider good access road, closeness to market and labour), steady water supply, drainage facility and adopt a pond system (earthen pond, concrete or home-made plastic pond).
After the pond has been dug or plastic pond put in place, you need to consider the fact that there are minimum water flow rate requirements in building such pond for a catfish. Will the source meet them? Employ professionals to test whether the water supply volume and flow rate meets standard requirements.
The best water for fish farming is from borehole. One or two must be sunk to guarantee steady water supply. Overhead tanks for holding water should also be installed. The mechanism of pumping of water must be back up facility. Try growing a few catfish using water taken from the target source. The depth of the pond is also crucial as this influences the availability of oxygen for the fish. And so is the amount of fish per surface acre of water.
On the other hand, if you cannot start on this scale, you can start small. Get an open leather or plastic pouch for a start. For one to get the most profit for a catfish harvest, it is necessary to determine buyer requirements when planning the season’s production. Consider what buyers demand in terms of weight, frequency, size and price. One can sell the season’s harvest to fish processors or directly to consumer. The latter results a greater return to the farmer.
Putting up a facility for catfish farming is a large investment. The most major investment for a catfish farm is the construction of the pond for catfish growing. Avail yourself of interested customers’ contact numbers, enough business cards and use the location as your office.