How to Run Catfish Farming Business Profitably in Nigeria

Alt: = "photo of catfish in a water with grass"

There is huge prospect for fish farming in Nigeria especially catfish farming

Before deciding to go into catfish farming, bear in mind that catfish farming is a risky business like any other businesses – it’s prone to loses — therefore is not a business for the lily-livered. So this article is intended to get you acquainted with all you need to know and do to avert the associated risks and maximize profits.

Get Training

Knowledge is key in catfish farming. Attend training classes, read some materials like you are doing now, meet some consultants to put you through on catfish farming. Meet with other catfish farmers who have had lots of experience in catfish farming. Getting training shouldn’t only be before you start fish farming, it should be a routine activity to update your knowledge database regularly. Read Solutions to Fish Farming Problems in Nigeria.

You should understand that you cannot survive alone; you need the help of other farmers, be open to help and connect with other farmers to learn from them for you to grow. However, in your attempt to learn from farmers, be very careful to identify those who see you as rival.

Get training on fish biosecurity, how to identity fish diseases, symptoms and treatments.

Catfish farming is not a very easy business, many farmers have incurred losses which have led them to close down their farms, while some are on the verge of losing their farms, they pump in so much money into the business but never make any profit, however, you might have read in some articles that catfish farming is the lucrative business you can engage in but what those writers won’t tell you is that the more profitable the market is, the more dangerous and more capital draining.

Select Good Site and Type of Pond

Fish farm can be sited almost anywhere and fish farm does not have much impact on the environment, but then location and type of pond used have impact on the success of the business. You need to know the requirements for fish farm site selection and pond contribution.

Construct Your Pond

Having selected a suitable site and the type of pond, the next thing is to construct the pond. The ponds should be constructed properly. I had written article on how to construct fish ponds (step-by-step guide). Youn go over and read the article.

Start Hatchery and Fingerlings Production

To reduce the operating costs and to get quality brood stock, you may need to integrate hatchery and fingerlings production line in your farm. This may not be at the starting point, but as your business grows. Learn how to start hatchery and fingerlings production. 

Always Select Quality Fingerlings

The quality of your fingerlings determines the quality of catfish is are going to produce. Cattish is sold according to weight, so your fish must be of high quality to weigh high. This is why it’s important for you to operate hatchery and fingerlings production.

Feed Your Catfish Properly with High Quality Feeds

Feeding of catfish at culture aims at producing the maximum weight of marketable catfish within the shortest time at least cost. The feed should supply the energy for movement and all other activities the fish engages in. It should also provide nutrients for body a maintenance, growth. Feeding increases fish growth and makes catfish farming profitable. Feeds must be nutritious and economical in any farming system and must be properly managed to be effective.

Take Fish Biosecurity Seriously

Biosecurity is the process of taking precautions to minimize the risk of introduction and spread of infectious organisms into or between fish populations. Biosecurity is very important to catfish farming because it prevents or limits the introduction and spread of diseases within or between aquatic animals production facilities and sites. Since very few effective treatments are available for most aquatic animal diseases, effect biosecurity is the key to preventing these diseases.

Make sure you use quality water in your catfish ponds

Some indicators of bad quality or greyish water

  • Offensive odour
  • Thick, deep green, brownish or greyish water
  • Sluggish movement of fish
  • Off-appetite and poor feed consumption
  • Fish death

Ways of reducing the risk of fish disease introduction or outbreak

  • Enforce strict sanitary measures for personnel, feed suppliers, veterinarians, harvesters and visitors. Provide disinfected protective clothing and hand and footwear disinfection station at each entrance and exit points.
  • Routinely disinfect equipment and water with recommended disinfectants. Ensure that the disinfectants can be applied safely and poses no toxic risk to humans, fish or the environment.
  • Restrict vehicle, boat and equipment contact with culture and holding units.
  • Maintain a log of all visitors coming in contact with your fish.
  • Contain and/ or treat effluent and organic waste at origin and prohibit it from reentering production areas. For open water facilities, dispose off organic waste on the land at a site that has measures to prohibit escape of breakdown products into surrounding waters.

Read top fish diseases, causes, symptoms and treatments

Market Your Catfish in Nigeria Well

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 know about marketing when selling your catfish in Nigeria.

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.

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. Once you fish reach reach maturity, any other feeding given to them is a waste, as the feeding will not add to their weight, it only help to maintain their weight still they are sold. It is therefore important to start making marketing contacts before they are mature, so that as soon as they are mature, they are harvested and taken by the buyers.

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.


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