Factors to consider in Setting Up Catfish farming
1. Secure a Land
Any location is good since fish doesn’t cause any environmental disturbance. Look for a land where you can get it cheap and buy. Depending on the capacity you want to operate on, a half plot of land is just good enough for an average fish farm.
However, you may go for something bigger like a full plot or two if you can afford it probably for convenience’s sake. If you already have a compound with leftover space you think can accommodate two or three ponds, you may use it.
2. Construct Ponds
You need to engage the service of an expert pond construction engineer or you go to another fish farm to get the specification and construction requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage.
3. Dig a Borehole
Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farms and lack of it may result in disaster because water needs to be changed on a regular interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water are the most suitable. Rainwater and tap water from the chemically treated source is not recommended for fish cultivation.
4. Install Overhead Tank
This is the water reservoir from which water is supplied to your ponds. This tank has to be connected to your ponds through the plumbing system to make it convenient for water to flow into your ponds when needed.
5. Get Juvenile Fish
Get your juvenile from another farm that specializes in supplying it. You need to go for the high yield species of catfish or tilapia and make sure you are getting it from a healthy farm.
6. Get Training
Not the kind of training you get from one-day seminars; you need to get attached to a fish farm for a proper apprenticeship. For you to properly learn this trade, you need at least two months of training on this.
Remember that your investment is at stake, trial and error is not good in business except you have unlimited funds to experiment.
Risks and Challenges in Catfish farming business
1. Sensitive to Manage
Fish is very sensitive to manage and a slight mistake could result in degenerated growth of your fish or even death which may cause massive revenue loss.
2. Capital Intensive
Setting up a fish farm is capital intensive, much more than that of poultry and snail farming. Setting up a fish farm requires more careful planning and much capital input. A relatively small fish farm may take up to N500,000 to setup, while bigger ones take millions of naira.
3. Fish is Priced High
Due to the cost of production, fish produced from the farm is priced higher than those caught from the rivers and ponds by fishermen. Therefore, if there is a good quantity of fisherman’s fish in the market, you may find it difficult to sell as people would prefer the cheaper ones.
4. No By product
There is no by-product in fishery, unlike poultry where even the drop can be harvested and sold to other farmers and make extra profit. In fishery, all you get is the flesh.
TYPES/BREEDS OF FISH YOU CAN FARM
Haven seen the benefits as well as the risks involved in fish farming, let’s now proceed to decide which species of fish we want to farm. Below are some of the most popular fish species that are suitable for Aquaculture.
1. Cat Fish –
Even though Catfish is not the most popular fish in Nigeria, this fish species is by far the most cultivated in Nigeria. One thing good about catfish is that it is one of the easiest fish species to cultivate. So, people naturally flow in the direction of fish species they found to be the easiest to cultivate.
2. Tilapia –
The second most popular fish in Nigeria’s aquaculture industry, Tilapia is a fish species that lives in fresh shallow water. Tilapia is very easy to cultivate and very popular in the Nigerian market, it reproduces very rapidly and grows fast too.
3. Mackerel (Titus) –
This is by far the most popular fish in the Nigerian market but so sad it’s not farmed. All Mackerel Fish are “wild-caught” but some farmer in Nigeria is considering the possibility of creating artificial salty water that will be similar to seawater where mackerel can only survive. Can this deep blue sea fish species be cultivated artificially? Only time will tell but for now, you have to focus your attention on Catfish and Tilapia.
How to market to Catfish online and offline
My fellow small farmers, we must know the best way to market our catfish in Nigeria, as it is the market that will drive the growth of our farm and earn profit. It should be noted that marketing should never be underplayed by any serious small scale farmer.
Marketing drives growth and profit, take your marketing very seriously. Most farmers wait till harvest time before they start marketing their product, which is extremely bad for their businesses. This is what you should about marketing when selling your catfish in Nigeria.
Never wait till harvest time before you market your catfish: This is one of the costly mistake farmers make by selling their product when they want to harvest, this is usually done at this time because the money they use in taking care of the fishes is almost finished, they are using their last stretch of money to feed their fishes, hence they start trying to sell their product off because they can no longer supply the fishes their feed.
Always contact your buyers early: The best way to maximize profit and save cost is to start marketing your product very early, this will allow you to choose the best customer that will buy your product, and also set the amount you wish to sell your product, this will help you to maximize profit. Some buyers are so dubious that they usually want to reap where they did not sow, they always try to outsmart the farmers who have labored several months to raise his fish, most fish farmers have fallen victim and incurred loses. Outsmart the market before they outsmart you.
Never depend on a single buyer for your product: I have heard so many tales from small scale farmers lamenting their ordeal in the hands of their customers; their customers have always disappointed them in buying their fish or paying at the point of sale. Always attract new customers to your farm; the best and most trusted way you can attract new customers to your farm is through referral; refereeing new customers to your farm is not always easy; it takes a lot of work disappointed and a reputation of integrity. ; refereeing customers your customer base, which you can always rely on, trusting a single customer is terrible, and it will be a damaging idea, building a relationship that breeds trust and integrity is the best marketing campaign strategy for your farm products.
Produce something that your customer needs: You will always earn the trust of your customers when you satisfy their needs; these will get them hooked to your farm products, make them remember your farm, and recommend it to other farmers. Always have the right sales process that takes your customers into consideration; this will drive sales and bring profit, earn acceptability and credibility.
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