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A complete guide on how to start catfish farming in Nigeria



In Nigeria catfish farming business is another lucrative business. Catfish farming business has actually caught the heart of many Nigerians most especially the young ones because of the good profits that can be gained. The kinds of fishes used for this type of agricultural practice are bony fishes which are mudfish, catfish, tilapia, salmon, carps, trout, perch and herring. Although in Nigeria it is catfish that is mostly reared, the reason is because it is very easy to rear and it has an available market. Some customer can even place an order directly from your farm. This particular fish don’t even need to grow up to a market size before you can sell it.


The major benefits of fish farming in Nigeria

       1. Without been told fish is a cheap source of protein to both man and livestock, they can really serve as protein to both humans and livestock.

       2. Another benefit of fish farming is that the fish can be processed into fish by-products like fish meal, fish oil, manure and skin.

       3. Fish farming really provides income and employment to many people. Any young Nigerian that is still looking for a job or anyone who is willing to diversify is income sources can venture into fish farming. Also Fish farming can really create employment to the ever increasing young graduates in the country.

        4. Fish farming has also ensured the better use of land and water in our environment.


Furthermore, the following are some of the major factors to consider before venturing into catfish farming in Nigeria;

       1. An adequate water supply in the environment: A constant supply of good quality water is very important, this water must not have a bad smell taste or color. The source of the water can come from lakes, streams, taps, etc.

       2. The kind of soil in the environment: If you are actually considering using an earthen pond, ensure that the soil is fertile to soil nutrients to the fish. Make sure it is clay because of its ability to hold water which is very important for fish pond construction.

       3. The vegetation of the environment: From my own little experience grassland is preferable in the area you want to site your fish pond.

        4. The topography: Make sure the shape of the land really allow easy draining and the filling of the pond with water. The water should be able to flow in from a place that is higher so that it can flow out from where it is lower.

       5. Fingerlings should be available: Make sure there are fast growing fingerlings or baby fish available to stock the fish pond. Don’t forget that catfish are of different breeds, it is very important the farmer take is time to select the fast growing and disease resistant breeds. The truth is that the use of good breeds in stocking the fish pond makes the fish farming profitable.

       6. The design of the pond: In catfish farming the stocking density is very important and it will determines the growth rate of the cultured catfish, the overcrowding of the catfish will increase the competition for resources like oxygen and food. Also it can promote the growth of some fishes at the expense of others and in the end lead to cannibalism. As a fisher farmer there is need to consider the appropriate length and breadth of the pond, which actually depends on the intended number of fishes to stock the pond with. Make sure the pond structure incorporate provision for separation as growth rate among the fishes is not proportionate to avoid cannibalism.

       7. The availability of feeds for the fish: In catfish farming feeds constitute the major cost, which is about 60% and above. In Nigeria the imported catfish feeds are the one that are really available and the average cost should be about 6500 per 15 kg bag. From my own research a bag can take 700 two months old fishes for just ten days. Just make sure you can contain the challenges of feeding the fishes, before you actually think about reaping the profits.

Furthermore, below are the steps to start fish farming in Nigeria;

-          - A proper site selection.

-          - A general survey about the site.

-          - A proper clearing and stomping of the site.

-          - A proper construction of the dam, core trench, and spillway.

-         - The catfish pond fertilization and Inoculation, which can be done by pouring organic fertilizers like poultry droppings, cow dung or the use of inorganic fertilizers such as N.P.K or superphosphate.

-         - The stocking of the pond with fishes. Try as much as possible to get fingerlings or fries to stock the pond.

-         - The harvesting period. Under normal condition an African catfish takes an average of five months to reach table size and this time they should have attained an average weight of 1 kg.

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