Fisheries Redefined : Why Some Farmers Make Millions In Fish Farming and Others Don’t!

Fisheries Redefined : Why Some Farmers Make Millions In Fish Farming and Others Don’t!

This article will give the readers the requisite knowledge of the ways, modern technology, and procedures to follow in starting, operating, or managing a successful fish farming business, for new entrants or existing farmers at lower, medium and commercial scale.

…if agriculture remains stagnant, industry cannot grow.

I will as much as possible try to limit this article to the fisheries industry, which is an area on its own in Agriculture.
Let me add this to my personal introduction or profile. I didn’t study fisheries or Aquaculture in school. I’m a graduate of Quantity surveying 2002 set of Yaba college of Technology, Lagos state.

I got introduced to fisheries by my father in 2003 when he saw my interest in becoming an entrepreneur. He told me agriculture is an area to go into.
To cut a long story short, between that time and now, I’ve been able to realize success in Agribusiness, specifically in the area of fish farming business, having earned millions as profits and also built a reputation for myself in the industry.

I mentioned this to let you know that you do not need to start as a fisheries expert before you can be successful in the industry.
Agribusiness is an industry that everyone and anyone can venture into and become successful, but the key is training, and having access to the right information.

Let me say, that we cannot teach everything about what to do to have a successful fish farming business in less than two hours, because that will mean trying to cover what is being taught for four to five years in the university in just two hours, but I can assure you that if what will be said is given proper attention as I did when i started in 2003 when, you will have better stories to share than the ones i am sharing now.

Just this month, the CBN introduced a policy of not selling FOREX to canned fish importers among others. This is because it is believed that such commodity should be produced in the country. Why import what we can afford to produce locally?

As a person/ stakeholder in the industry, I see this as one of the many opportunities that will be coming to fish farmers in the nearest future.

Nigeria cannot ban the importation of fish for now as we merely produce one quarter of what we consume annually. I mean both from Aquaculture, and partisan fishing of our waters by both local fishermen and trawler owners.
Presently our annual consumption of fish product is about 2.7 million metric tonnes, while we barely produce 1 million metric tonnes.


Another question to ask is, why fish farming business? Recently with the increase in some of these communicable diseases, many are trying to watch what they eat, and those that still take flesh believe that fish protein is a better and safer source of protein than meat.
Therefore, the following ways are some of the ways we can do the business of growing fishes successfully in Nigeria.

(1) Why, Direction and Position

  • Why do you want to start a successful fish farming business?
  • Do you just need an extra income, or a business to invest your money?
  • Is it for your retirement, or you need a full time business / income?
  • Just a hobby or a form of past time?
  • Do you want to increase the size of your farm, or make your existing farm more sustainable?
  • Do you need other areas in fisheries where you can invest or diversify your money?

    Whatever the plan is, it must be clear from the beginning.

    Remember that the needs are different at each level of entrance or involvement.

    The next thing is to know where you are at the present.
    Do an assessment of where you are. Then plot your direction. Do you want to breed, do grow-out, sell as a middle man, process the table fish, export or simply transport the product?
    All successful farmers decide on this before they set out on the journey.
    I had to decide on the path to go in fisheries before I started. This decision is one of my secret formulas. A good reason for this is that there’s a lot of tendency for you to drift or start to jump about when you don’t have a clear cut plan, and this usually results in set backs.

    (2)- What is your Plan/ Blue print?
    You must have a plan if you want to succeed in Aquaculture. The plan must consists of how you want to go about business based on what will be seen from the plan.

    For example, you can go into pure fish breeding if you have a clear picture of how to go about it. Stick to that plan of breeding and succeed instead of trying to be a breeder and at the same time a grower.

    Since fisheries can be done at different levels, a farmer that wants to succeed must have a clear plan of the level or levels he hopes to get involved.

    The plan must have the following details:
    The rearing culture/system to be used. Examples of which are  earthen ponds, concrete ponds, re-circulation system, mobile tanks, cage culture, e.t.c.
    This plan must be well written and it must be clear to you.
    I have seen people constructing concrete tanks in a water logged land. Or people putting up concrete tanks in a rented apartment.
    I taught someone to vacate one of the bedroom in his house and put up an hatchery there which latter grew to a full farm. He made the money to build a full farm from his bedroom converted farm.
    A good plan is a major key to success in fish farming business.

    (3)- Evaluation /Stock taking
    One factor that will affect your planning is this section. Your findings here will affect your planning decision.
    You must take stock of your resources, both materials and knowledge based.
    Imagine a man who doesn’t have a landed property or access to rent one, yet wants to own a farm? In as much as that shouldn’t stop him, it should help him decide what aspect to get involved with. Such a man can purchase a roasting kiln and starts a fish Processing business.
    Evaluation must be sincere and thorough because it will affect your planning.
    Your evaluation must also work as inventory taking of all your resources for it to be effective.

    (4)- Marketing
    In business, we always say the market is the king! Generally, a lot of people go into production without first sorting out the market.
    Like I always say in my trainings, to succeed fast, find what is selling, and sell more of it! If you follow this idea in fish farming business, you won’t go wrong.
    You must produce for the market, not your pocket! For instance, if the market around you is only looking for smoking fishes, why produce big sized ones? And vice versa. Let the market dictate what you’re to produce, except you’re an Alchemist like me.
    An Alchemist creates needs out of nowhere and so creates the supply means of meeting the needs.
    Make sure there’s a market before you venture out.
    And, if you don’t have a market, we can help you get.

    Below is a simple Catfish Project Cost Analysis :
    A fish farm having the capacity to produce about 10,000 table sized fish using ten earthen ponds (cost of land acquisition not included).
    The Farm will be equipped with five earthen ponds of 30ft x 40ft, and 2,000 juveniles will be stocked in each.

    Pond size= 30ft x 40ft x 5ft
    Cost of digging = 70,000
    Cost of bagging = 20,000
    Others (liming, fertilizing, e.t.c)=10,000
    Total = 100,000 x 5= 500,000
    Cost of Juveniles = 25×10,000 = 250,000
    Cost of feeding @ 250,000/tonne = 2,500,000
    Salaries and others = 400,000
    Total Cost. = NGN 3,750,000

    With Feed conversion Ratio of 1:1.1
    9,000kg @ 600 = 5,400,000
    Profit = 5,400,000 – 3,750,000= NGN 1,650,000( 1st cycle)
    2nd cycle= 5,400,000 – 3,250,000 (less cost of pond) = NGN 2,150,000

    Total= 1,650,000+ 2,150,000 = 3,800,000.
    Grand Total= NGN 3,800,000

    Adebowale Onafowora

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