STARTING A FISH FARM IN NIGERIA
Fish Farming is perhaps one of the most popular start up businesses in Nigeria or let’s say Africa generally. The business is quite lucrative as the products derived from fish farming, which is obviously fish, is very common and is almost impossible to not find in the market. So there’s no question why it’s so popular and people are always willing to get involved and invest so much into the business. The market for fishes is widely available and people are always ready to buy the product.
Fishes are proteineous in nature. They have one of the highest sources of protein and are rich in calcium and phosphorus. Fishes also serves as great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. To say fishes are one of the most consumable food product in the world is nothing a fact. Of all substitutes available, fishes are actually affordable and can be served on nearly all types of delicacies. There are different types of fishes though, and this only means farmers might need to pick a particular specie and specialize in the rearing of that kind.
Now, fish farming isn’t just about getting the pond, and then the fish, and then the fish feeds and just relaxing after all that. Fish farming actually involves some specific details that when missed can ultimately throw the business into loss or collapse. Fish farming is actually the rearing of fishes for either sale or consumption. As an entrepreneur who wants to deal in fish farming and also make some profit, the former applies. For sale. So the ultimate goal of setting up a farm as an entrepreneur is to sell and make profits from it.
In the next sub heads, I’ll be discussing some of the steps involved in starting a fish farming business in Nigeria.
- COMPREHENSIVE AND DETAILED RESEARCH
Now this is a really important topic when it comes to staring a business. Research is key. As a start up or someone who probably knows just a little about the business, it is very advisable to seek knowledge regarding fish farming. Even for individuals who already can be considered experts or are quite knowledgeable about the subject, there is need to do a thorough research about the business you’re about to venture into. There might be something you’re missing or probably a new technique or advancement in town that could help the business move forward.
As mentioned earlier, there are different kinds of fish species and entrepreneurs might need to specialize. The two most common types of fish species reared in the country are Catfish and Tilapia. Of course, there are others and if you’re willing to get involved with another specie, take the hit but make sure you find out detailed information about it and how well people purchase it in the market. Remember, you’re farming for sale, so you don’t want to start a business where people won’t buy your products.
There are a number of useful guidelines and methods of fish farming also available on the internet. Make use of them and ensure you’re well aware of everything or rather nearly everything the business entails. Reviews or tutorials from successful farmers will also prove useful as they are already experts in the field and will most likely give you the realest information you’ll get concerning the business. Ask questions too. By the time the research phase is completed, entrepreneurs will be ready and prepared for the work ahead.
- AREA OF SPECIALITY
After the research, this is something that entrepreneurs must have put in mind. The different species are there for the taking. As a start up, it is advisable to stick to one and then progress to take other species after some years in business. Catfish farming and Tilapia fish farming are the most profitable fish species in the country. They are widely accepted and have a very strong market for the products. When selecting an area of speciality, entrepreneurs must consider certain factors that might prove decisive for the business. For example, a fish specie might be productive in a particular kind of climate or general conditions only, so if they are not placed under such conditions, they might die and bring losses. Others might require large amounts of water or temperature based condition, whatever it is, it is up to entrepreneurs to know whether they are capable of working with these conditions.
- BUSINESS PLAN
Next up is preparing a business plan. The business plan is actually a very important tool both for the business and the entrepreneur. It details several sections of the business and how things will be operated. Mostly, it puts the ideas of the entrepreneur into paper. The business plan contains a detailed description of what the business is about, a look at marketing strategies, resources needed, capital and production requirements, financial plan and almost every other thing that gives information about the business.
Writing a business plan also helps the entrepreneur to prepare for the future. It sets the bar on what is expected and how to deal with operations in the business. For entrepreneurs who might need a loan to start up the business, it will also help them in securing the loans as investors and loan managers are able to see what they are giving out money for and if it’s worth it.
- GETTING A LOCATION
For fish farming, a small area of land can be used if you’re taking things slow and starting small. It is generally advisable to start small, measure progress and expand operations later on. The level of risk involved is minimal unlike when starting big. A small area of land can be acquired and a pond can then be constructed. The pond is of course, where the fishes will stay and the number of ponds to be built depends on the capacity the entrepreneur can cover comfortably. Ponds should always be built to fit the needs of the fishes. After construction of ponds, comes water supply.
A good source of water should be made available on site. Water should always be accessible. There should never be a case of unavailable water or insufficient water on the farm. Water is essential to the fishes, and without it, they can die. In cases where water stations are present on the farm, they should be put close to the ponds. For others who might need to get water outside camp, then it should not be far too and there must be an easy way to get the water to the farm.
- GETTING SUPPLIES
The next agenda for entrepreneurs is getting supplies for the fish farm. First up is the fishes. After selecting a specie of fish, entrepreneurs can now look to get suppliers of that kind of fish. This kick starts the business. Small fishes, fingerlings or juveniles, are purchased and put in a pond that fits them and is not short of water supply. It is this small fishes that will eventually turn into the big ones that are always on sale in the market. To get big, the feeds come into play. Some fishes have a particular kind of feed that they take and you should take note of that when researching and selecting a particular specie. It is also important to stress the need to get close suppliers who have healthy products. Healthy juveniles are most likely going to develop with any issues with the right feed.
The pond has been constructed and fishes already in, so the next thing to expect is time for harvest. Different species have a different period it takes them to develop properly. After that time, they are ready to be harvested and put out for sale. But you don’t just get to waltz into the market and start selling your products to people. Marketing is important. Visit local outlets and market places and advertise your products to them. As a start up, you can decide to give discounts or bonuses as a strategy to gain some customers but don’t let these freebies affect your estimated income.
The market for fishes speaks for itself. The product is like a valuable that can’t go wrong in the market. It is very lucrative when run properly and with high level of hardwork and commitment. Just like any other type of business, there are no shortcuts and hard work put into this kind of venture is what will eventually pay off.