How To Start Fish Farming In Nigeria

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Fish farming is one of the lucrative businesses to start in Nigeria. Fish farming no longer involves going to the stream and rivers to catch fish with a net and hook. 

Fish farming has been an age-long practice in some parts of Nigeria for over 200 years. Fish farming has departed from the ancient method of fishing as more modern advanced equipment and techniques have been discovered in the fishery sector. 

All love fish for their high protein content and omega 33, which helps the liver and combat infections and diseases.

Fishing is quite popular and in high demand as over 90% of households use to fish for cooking at least once in a while. The most profitable type of fish to farm in Nigeria is Catfish farming. 

Benefits of fish farming

Fish farming has advantages, making it a unique and profitable business idea. The benefits are as follows

1. Fish Is popular: according to statistics, fish are the most popular animal product in the market, and over 90% of households use it for daily consumption. Starting a popular business like fish farming will eventually attract customers to your business. 

2. Fish matures quickly: fish grow and mature quickly over a little period. You won’t wait for long with fish farming before reaping the fruits of your labor.

It will not take a year before your fishes start getting mature for sales.

3. Fish is a rich source of protein: fishes contain so much protein, which is good for the body. Fish contains low-fat proteins with omega-3 acids and vitamins such as vitamin D and B. Fish also have mineral nutrients like iron, zinc, phosphorus, iodine, and potassium.

4. Fish sells quickly: due to the popularity of fish, it sells faster than any animal meat product on the market. It is good and relatively cheap compared to other meats, making it affordable for most Nigerian households to buy. One can easily sell two cartons of fish daily.

5. Fish contain omega-33 acid: This is beneficial to the heart and is used in food supplements and drugs. Pharmaceutical companies need fish for the production of their medicine. Individuals with heart problems also take fish because of their no cholesterol content. 

Omega-33 acid in fish helps keep your brain, heart, and liver healthy.

6. High-Profit margin: Fish farming is very profitable as an investment of 1 million in the fish farm can produce 2 million within six months. Fish farming is one animal meat business with very high returns on investment. 

7. No Environmental Hazard: Fish farming has no environmental disaster as you can start fish farming in any place in Nigeria, unlike goat and cattle farming. One can start fish farming in his backyard without any interruption from anyone. Fish farming does not require much land; you can use a small piece of land to train over a thousand fish.

8. Low risk of loss: Fish farming is one of the few businesses in Nigeria that are associated with no or low probability of loss. It is hard to see any fish farmer in Nigeria who does not make at least 10% profits from his fish business. 

The risk of loss in fish farming is very low as fish matures quickly and sell out quickly.

Disadvantages/ Challenges in Fish farming in Nigeria

1. It is sensitive to Manage: Fish farming is too sensitive. It should be done with extreme carefulness as one little mistake can lead to the death of your fish, thereby incurring a loss on you.

2. It requires huge capital to start up: Fish farming requires huge capital of at least 500k before starting the business. You can not start it with little income as it demands big savings from small and medium-income earnings before venturing into it.

3. No byproduct from fish: Fish does not have any byproduct apart from its flesh, unlike animals like goats, sheep, cattle, and pigs which have byproducts such as milk, skin, manure, Yogurt, etc. Once you sell a fish, you can’t make use of any byproducts in it like feces, etc.

4. Too much competition: Fish farming is one of the highly competitive agro-business in Nigeria as you face competition from local fishers who fish from streams and Rivers, importers of frozen fish, and your fellow fish farmers. This competition in the market makes it hard to sell your fish at high prices as your customers may patronize cheap fish from your competitors.

5. Inadequate Veterinary Doctors: Few doctors treat fish. There is also a shortage of drugs for fish; this can cause massive deaths to your fish pond, resulting in loss to your business. 

Types of Fish you can farm in Nigeria.

There are many species of fish worldwide, but not all types of fish can sell in Nigeria. Some fishes are in higher demand than others. So if you are to embark on a fish farming business, here are the best and most profitable fish to farm in Nigeria. 

1. Catfish: Although catfish is not very popular in the Nigerian fish market, it is the most cultivated fish in Nigeria. Catfish is the easiest fish species to farm in Nigeria as it can survive easily in Nigeria. Catfish are sold as point-and-kill fish. It can also be served as pepper soup.

2. Tilapia fish: Tilapia is the 2nd most popular fish consumed in Nigeria. Tilapia live in shallow waters; they are easy to farm in Nigeria. They reproduce fast and grow quickly.

3. Mackerel: it is the most popular fish breed in Nigeria; they are majorly found in rivers, streams, and oceans. They are most captured widely by fishers with nets and hooks. They are the cheapest kind of fish available in Nigeria. It is very rare to see any fish farmer farming this type of fish as these fish are not suitable for artificial fish ponds but only for natural water sources.

Tilapia and Catfish are two major kinds of fish any fish farmer should venture into in Nigeria.

Steps to get started with your fish farming business in Nigeria

1. Secure land: Any land is good for farming as fish do not cause environmental damage. Look for any cheap land. You can use at least half of a plot of land for fish farming. If you want to do your fishing farming on a large scale, you can purchase 2 to 3 plots of land for fish.

2. Construct A fishing Pond: contact a competent engineer to construct a fishing pond for the fish on your land. Make sure the pond is well constructed and has proper drainage channels. 

3. Construct A borehole: Every fish farm demands adequate fresh and clean water for the fish. Fish drinks and live in water; they need a borehole to be providing water to the pond. 

Lack of water can cause much damage to your fish pond as fish cannot exist without water. The best water sources for a fish farm are boreholes and River water. Rainwater and water from taps are not suitable for fish.

4. Build an Over-Head Tank: A tank is needed to store water for the fish farm. Construct a Tank and connect it with good plumbing systems to the pond to supply water to the farm. 

5. Get Juvenile fish: Purchase juvenile fish from fish farms that specialize in selling fish fingerlings. Check if the fish are coming from a clean and healthy farm. Get fishes that are of high-yielding species of tilapia and catfish that grows quickly.

6. Get proper training: if you don’t have any knowledge or experience in fish farming, go for an appropriate training fish course from a fish farming professional with many years of fishing experience. Agro organizations specialize in Training potential fish farmers to grow fish. Proper training will teach you the best species of fish to farm, the steps to start a fish farm, and how to construct a good fishing pond. 

If you refuse to get proper training, you might cause a huge loss to your farm due to your ignorance and inexperience.

7. Do a feasibility Study: A feasibility study is needed before starting a fish farm. With a feasibility study, you research the cost of fish, equipment, and tools required to start fish farming. A feasibility study will help you to know the cost of capital of the size of the fish farm you intend to build. 

Start Fish Farm on Large or Small Scale?

This is dependent on the capital available and the knowledge one has. I will advise you to start fish farming on a small scale if you are starting inexperienced, as it won’t be advisable for one to start a business with big capital on a business he is not familiar with yet. Starting a fish farm on a small scale will help minimize the risk of loss and help you learn through the ropes until you gain mastery of fish farming before increasing it to a larger scale.

Is Fish farming Profitable in Nigeria? Fish farming is profitable. If well managed can give you a huge profit turnover. Fish farming one start with 2million can give you a profit of 500,000 nairas. With the increasing cost of fish in Nigeria, fish farming will always be lucrative in Nigeria.

Conclusion: Fish farming is one of the most profitable businesses anyone can start in Nigeria. Although fish requires huge capital and high sensitivity, it is still profitable.

Get professional training on fish farming before starting, so you won’t be doing trial and error on your fish farm.

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