Starting a catfish farm is a profitable venture because of the top selling price of catfish especially in West
African countries. Nigeria is known to be a high consumer of the delicacy which is about several tons of the fish yearly.
Despite the high consumption rate statistics show that catfish farmers production far less than needed. The huge population of over 150 million and acceptance of the fish as a delicacy makes catfish production a lucrative business
The various ways catfish are processed and sold gives the catfish farmer lots of avenues to sell his stock. The catfish breeder makes his money selling fingerlings to prospective catfish farmers.
While grow out catfish farmers have various methods to sell their fish stock. The fish is sold either directly to consumers, open market, or processed.
There are several reasons catfish farming is profitable some of which are listed below.
- The ban on frozen fish imports
Some countries have placed an outright ban on frozen fish in order to boost local production of fish. The local production includes fish caught within or local territory, fish reared by local farmers like Tilapia and catfish.
This singular gesture is to encourage local farmers to invest in aquaculture and develop our local content. Other products local farmers try include farming lobster, prawns, snail, Tilapia and catfish.
- The high demand for the produce
Catfish is in high demand as an alternative to fresh fish, meat or chicken. The fish is regarded as a delicacy and greatly favored by Nigerians.
The fish is used as added condiments in the preparation of certain Nigeria dishes in the form of smoked fish. Top restaurants and bars make lots of money selling catfish pepper soup at premium price.
Despite being very expensive in the open market consumers still clamor to buy the produce. The market women smile home to the bank because of the huge profit they make selling directly to consumers.
Fish farmers make their own margin by selling in bulk but not as high as the local market retailers.
The Price of Catfish
Catfish farmers in 2015 sell their stock per kilogram to local retailers and restaurants. The price fluctuates but a kilogram of catfish in 2015 went for five hundred naira per kilogram.
If the fish farmer chooses to go further down the retail market he makes much more by selling as smoked fish. Smoked fish are not necessarily one kilogram but around two hundred and fifty grams and they can sell as much as 500 naira.
The fish farmer might have an outlet to grill or barbecue the fish and sell twice the cost of a kilogram. Other highly priced menu from catfish are steamed catfish and pepper soup.
The fish farmer can earn huge income packaging the fish for exportation. Exportation attracts foreign currency when exchanged because very impressive amount.
- Catfish farming reduces unemployment
Although catfish farming is capital intensive you can scale down your catfish farm. A small farm can make good earnings for an unemployed person when done right.
The unemployed person can choose to go into any of the two segments of fish farming which is breeding or grow out. The unemployed person can join an agricultural cooperative and get loans for his venture.
You don’t need vast land to become successful catfish farming a small space close to clean water supply would do nicely. To make huge profit on little investment the person only needs to market and sell his produce to smile all the way to the bank.
- Some benefits of catfish consumption
Catfish is not entirely the healthy fish people make it out to be because it has certain oil and fat that isn’t recommended. But it has its good aspects like vitamins, and fish protein.
When processed into smoked or dry fish it is better than the boiled variant. The meat is healthier than red meat and slightly better than livestock products.
Catfish farms a easier to maintain than livestock farming
Livestock farming which includes poultry farming, cattle rearing and sheep rearing is more difficult than fish farming. Poultry farming is very capital intensive, labor intensive and high maintenance.
The same applies to cattle rearing and goat rearing when compared with fish farming. Other types of livestock farming are also messy, and prone to deadly diseases like mad cow diseases or bird flu.
Don’t get me started on the smell and noise from chicken farming compared to fish farming. Fish farming is almost silent, easy to do, need little space to produce large numbers.
Although catfish are prone to diseases they are not as bad as those found in other agricultural sector.
Fish farmers have Easy Access to business credit
Fish farmers have easy access to business credit because the federal government has provided revenue to boost catfish production. There are different organization set up to aid fish farmer’s access loans like Bank of Industry, Agricultural cooperatives, and many more.
Commercial banks also provide credit to fish farmers including other federal and state initiatives.
- Maintenance and expenses
Fish farmers spend less on maintenance and recurrent expenses because the fish ponds are durable and can last ten years. Once the fingerlings are bought the only major expense is feeding which takes seventy percent of the cost of production.
The fish hardly get sick, but sick fish should be promptly isolated and removed from the stock. Other costs to consider are electricity to pump your water into the fish tank.
Once you change the water once a day if its dirty and feed them either once or twice daily you job is done. Catfish are quite easy to maintain giving you time to do other things.
Catfish farming allows diversification
You can go into any aspect of catfish farming and make good profit. The fish farmer can breed catfish, grow catfish, and sell to open market or directly to customers.
The fish farmer can export his products or even go into other aspects of farming like live stock. The expelled water from the fish pond can even be channeled unto vegetable farms.
Catfish farming does not demand much of your time so you can have a regular nine to five job easily.
Ten reasons catfish farming is profitable
These are a few reasons catfish farming is profitable
1 The fish attract premium price
2 You can diversify you operations
3 Low maintenance
4 Access to credit facilities
5 Easier to do that livestock farming
6 Large market for the catfish
7 Good for consumption
8 Good government initiatives and funding
9 Reduces unemployment
10 You can make huge profit catfish farming
The Advantage of Catfish Farming in Relation to Livestock Farming
Both livestock farming and catfish farming are good businesses ventures. But each sector comes with its own risks and challenges.
There are many advantages and disadvantages when both sectors are compared. Some of the disadvantages of livestock farming make aquaculture a better alternative.
Advantages of catfish farming
It costs less money to run a catfish farm than a livestock farm because of the following reasons. After the initial expense of setting up your fish farm the only expense is feeding your stock.
Catfish are rugged and hardly die once they get accustomed to feeding and water conditions. Most mortality in fish growing occurs due to cannibalization whereby they kill each other.
Under ideal conditions of proper feeding cannibalization hardly occurs. Also cost of maintenance of the ponds is low because they are rugged and last long.
Although large fish farms are capital intensive, large livestock farm are more capital intensive.
Livestock needs constant supervision
Livestock needs constant supervision to grow and remain healthy. Catfish on the other hand needs moderate supervision to grow.
All the fish needs is good water daily, adequate feeding and that’s about it. Livestock have to be secured from escaping, treated for certain diseases, vaccinated, pens cleaned and feed appropriately.
And there is a real danger of getting mauled by an angry cow or goat. Even turkeys are very aggressive and are known to attack their minders.
Have you ever been to where chickens are kept especially the layers the noise is defining? Chicken, turkey and many livestock animals are very noisy and disruptive. With fish farming you hardly hear a sound except the noise of a generator pumping water into the pond.
Livestock produces tons of filth
Poultry birds create tons of feces when should be evacuated daily. This provides a tough working environment due to constant maintenance of the facility.
Other livestock like goats and cows come with their own challenges and difficulties.
Livestock is prone to different diseases
Livestock has more deadly disease which can dissipate the stock. Some of their diseases can even transfer to humans like mad cow disease when we consume infected meat.
Although fish also has some problems they are not as expensive to treat like livestock diseases.
Almost Same price per kilogram
One kilogram of frozen chicken is slightly higher than a kilogram of live catfish. But when catfish is processed into smoked fish or other variants it cost more than chicken or turkey.
Another advantage is that catfish is considered a delicacy in Africa. Because of this people that love eating the fish prefers it over red meat or chicken.
Livestock farming requires space
Catfish can easily be confined in relative small space compared to livestock. If you are a livestock farmer one hundred birds need lots of space.
In comparison one hundred catfish can thrive in a space measuring four square feet. With that small space adequate water and feeding the fish has the potential to produce over one hundred kilograms of fish.
Advantages of catfish farming in relation to livestock farming
1 Fish farming is clean
2 Cat fish needs very little space compared to livestock
3 Both sectors attract similar price
4 Livestock are filthy and need lots of maintenance
5 Livestock are noise unlike the very quiet fish
6 Livestock needs constant supervision unlike catfish
7 Catfish farming is low cost when you compare both sectors
8 Livestock are more prone to diseases.