Due to its unique taste and high nutritional value, catfish delicacies have become increasingly popular in Nigerian homes, restaurants and hotels. In recent times, the demand for it is a lot higher than catfish farmers can supply.
The infrastructures, knowledge, regulatory hoops, and scale needed to make Catfish farming profitable in Nigeria are generally pretty prohibitive. However, if you are willing to invest your time, money and energy into this business, success is guaranteed.
To start a small scale Catfish farm in Nigeria that will increase both in production and income, shares certain basics to cover:
1. Gain knowledge about catfish
To start creating your own fishing culture, you must first learn about this area, you can buy some fishing books or visit the fish farms in your area to learn about various methods and experiences. With the Internet is so developed, you can also collect information, watch teaching videos, or consult some experts in fisheries. Once you’ve acquired enough training, start a small fish farm, preferably as a part-time project. You can do this by building a couple of fish tanks. If the project proves to be profitable, add more capital, and increase fish production.
Here are some things to know about Catfish:
- Catfish (also known as siluriformes) has different species like blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, heteroclarias, clarias nigro-digitatus, clarias spp, and over 300 others.
- Catfish is considered a bottom-feeding fish and are usually found in freshwater and coastal region around the world.
- Catfishes live mainly in the middle and lower classes of rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and ponds. Activities in the coastal zone, during the day are more hidden in the grass, rocks or deep underwater, while at night, they start foraging.
- Catfishes belong to the carnivorous fish group, and preys on small fishes like crucian, giurinus, pseudorasbora parva, carp, loach, shrimp, and aquatic insects.
- Catfishes mature early –usually a year old is an adult. Spawning period is generally from April to June.
- Juvenile fish mainly feed on zooplankton, aquatic insect larvae, and shrimp.
- Catfish grow fast.
- Maximum individual weight is about 40 kg or more.
- They can suitably live in water with a temperature of 25 ~ 20 degrees.
2. Assess the catfish market
The purpose of analyzing your market is to know where demand exceeds supply and evaluate the resources at your disposal, ((which include time and capital). Additionally, calculate other costs that you are likely to incur, including operating and legal costs like licenses. Then, compare all costs against projected returns, to determine the profitability of the project.
In Nigeria, because of the relative ease of catfish farming, there is a readily stable market for catfish, especially as catfish is a treasured delicacy in Nigerian cultures. Catfish farming has built a huge followers-base. The market price of African catfish is usually gauged per kg-weight of fish. Prices per kg may differ based on location. However, on the average, catfish can be sold for N500/kg in Lagos, N650/kg in Makurdi and 750/kg in Abuja.
3. Find space
If you want to start small, you can set up a fishing pond right in your backyard and get your supplies at wholesale prices.
You can cultivate catfish breeding in tanks, cement pool, upper storage reservoir, and cage. The final area should not be too big, the best is 100 ~ 500 square meters. The stocking density is 500 catfish fry per square meter. The pond should have the same species so they do not end up killing of each other. When breeding for 15 ~ 20 days, body length is 3 ~ 5 cm. You can also breed them into a rice field, big pond, river, or stream.
4. Necessary equipment and supplies
Catfish is known as a freshwater animal. So, poor quality water can kill your productivity. The best sources of water are borehole and river. Rainwater and tap water from treated sources are not good for your fish. What’s more, you`ll also need to check to be sure that your water is not acidic. To know, you`ll need to buy a PH meter to read the acid level, an essential catfish farming equipment that can save you from loss.
Most importantly, your fish must be well-fed. Their feed should contain proper nutrients like lysine, arginine and methionine. It is better to make your own fish feed, as this is more safe and reliable. Some farmers use local meals to feed their fish. This idea may be good, provided the meals contain the required nutrients your fish need. But remember, increase your fish feeds as they grow, or else, you’ll be underfeeding them.
5. Daily management
Apparently, constant feeding means deterioration of water quality, so you should try to keep the water fresh by changing it about once or twice weekly. Each time, replace 1/4 or 1/2 of the water. For prevention and treatment of fish diseases, splash some lime or bleaching powder monthly to disinfect the water.
You can also prepare a written management plan to record daily tasks like feeding, equipment check, and water temperature adjustments.
Are you considering going into Catfish farming? We’d love to hear all about t in the comment box!