How to Start Fish Farming in Nigeria

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There are so many information on the internet on “How to Start Fish Farming in Nigeria” but few are detailed enough to really assist aspiring fish farmer to get started. I will be endeavor to make this article as detailed as possible and hope that other experienced fish farmer will add to it as we try to answer people’s questions through commenting. 

One of the most popular farming in Nigeria is fish farming and for good reasons. Gone are the days when the only means of getting fish is by catching it in the local rivers and ponds through trial and errors. Today, the modern farm practice has made it possible to grow fish in the farms and control the input.

Catfish-Farming-Nigeria-Picture
Matured catfish, ready for market | WealthResult.com

If you are thinking of business to start now, I recommend you start CatFish Farming in Nigeria. If you are an existing farmer and you are looking for expanding your farm capacity, I’d encourage you add fish farming to your farm. Fish farming (especially catfish) is most compatible with poultry farming as you can use the poultry drops to make the feeds for your fish.

Benefits of Fish Farming

1. Fishery products is by far the most popular animal products in the market, constituting more than 60% of meat products in the Nigerian market.

2. Fish is one of the highest source of protein. Fish is a low-fat high quality protein that is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is also very rich in calcium and phosphorus and is equally a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Fish sells faster than any other animal products in the market and is relatively cheaper than meats, making it the number one choice when it comes to affordability.

4. Fish grows very fast as practices in fish farming makes it possible for farmers to increase the fastness of their fish growth by giving them certain feeds, ensuring that you harvest and sell within short period of time.

5. Fish is the biggest source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is extremely beneficial to human heart; Omega-3 helps to keep our heart and brain very healthy. Since bodies don’t produce Omega-3 fatty acids, the only source through which we can get it is by what we eat, that is where fish comes to the rescue.

6. Fish farming is very profitable. With proper planning and good management, N3 million investment in fish farming could easily result to N4 million of pure profit within six months.

7. Fish farm does not cause any environmental hazard. Unlike poultry farming, you can setup fish farm anywhere, including residential areas. If you have a specious compound, you can easily setup a small fish farm within your backyard without any regulatory precaution.

Risks and Challenges in Fish Farming

1. Fish is very sensitive to manage and a slight mistake could result to degenerated growth of your fish or even death which may cause massive revenue loss.

2. Setting up fish farm is capital intensive, much more than that of poultry and snail farm. Setting up fish farm requires more careful planning and much capital input. A relatively small fish farm may take up to N500,000 to setup, while bigger ones takes millions of naira.

3. Due to the cost of production, fish produced from the farm is priced higher than those caught from the rivers and ponds by fishermen. Therefore, if there are good quantity of fisherman’s fish in the market, you may find it difficult to sell as people would prefer the cheaper ones.

4. There is no byproduct in fishery unlike poultry where even the drop can be harvested and sold to other farmers and make extra profit. In fishery, all you get is the flesh

Types of Fish You Can Farm

Haven seen the benefits as well as the risks involved in fish farming, let’s now proceed to decide which specie of fish we want to farm. Below are some of the most popular fish species that is suitable for Aquaculture.

1. Cat Fish – Even though Catfish is not the most popular fish in Nigeria, this fish species is by far the most cultivated in Nigeria. One thing good about catfish is that it is one of the easiest fish species to cultivate. So, people naturally flow to the direction of fish specie they found to be the easiest to cultivate.

2. Tilapia – Second most popular fish in Nigeria’s aquaculture industry, Tilapia is a fish species that lives in fresh shallow water. Tilapia is very easy to cultivate and very popular in Nigerian market, it reproduces very rapidly and grows fast too.

3. Mackerel (Titus) –  This is by far the most popular fish in Nigerian market but so sad it’s not farmed. All Mackerel Fish are “wild caught” but some farmer in Nigeria are considering the possibility of creating artificial salty water that will be similar to sea water where mackerel can only survive. Can this deep blue sea fish specie be cultivated artificially? Only time will tell but for now, you have to focus your attention to Catfish and Tilapia.

What You Need to Get Started

1. Secure a Land – Any location is good since fish doesn’t cause any environmental disturbance. Look for land where you can get it cheap and buy. Depending on the capacity you wants to operate on, half plot of land is just good enough for average fish farm.

However, you may go for something bigger like full plot or two if you can afford it probably for convenience sake. If you already have a compound with leftover space you thing can accommodate two or three ponds, you may use it.

2. Construct Ponds – You need to engage the service of expert pond construction engineer or you go to another fish farm to get the specification and construction requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage.

Catfish-Ponds-in-Nigeria
Example of local fish ponds in Nigeria

3. Dig a Borehole – Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result to disaster because water need to be changed on regular interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water is the most suitable. Rain water and tap water from chemically treated source is not recommended for fish cultivation. 

4. Overhead Tank – This is the water reservoir from which water is supplied to your ponds. This tank has to be connected to your ponds through plumbing system to make it convenient for water to flow into your ponds when needed. 

5. Juvenile Fish – Get your juvenile from another farm that specializes in supplying it. You need to go for the high yield specie of catfish or tilapia and make sure you are getting it from a healthy farm.

6. Get Training – Not the kind of training you get from one day seminars; you need to get attached to a fish farm for proper apprenticeship. For you to properly learn this trade, you need at least two months training on this. 

Remember that your investment is at stake, trial and error is not good in business except you have unlimited funds to experiment with.

Feasibility Study for a Standard Fish Farm

I found the analysis below from Kings Way Agro Services and decided to add it as sample case study you can follow. 

“This feasibility study prepared for a catfish farm capacity of 10,000 and fingerlings of high breed catfish where to be stocked. The expenses from pond construction to marketing is considered. The farm is to have 10 concrete ponds of flow through system and each pond is to contains 1,000 stocked catfish.

Cost of constructing each pond is as follows.

Each pond is 3m x 2.5m by 1.4m, each pond consumes 210 blocks and each bag of cement for 30 blocks. Hence 210 x 10 = 2,100 blocks. 2,100/30 = 70 bags of cement needed. 2000 x 70 = 140,000 naira.

4trips of sand used =7,000×4 = N28,000 

2trips of gravel = 32,000x 2 = N64,00 

Cost of labour = N150,00 

Cost of plumbing (inlet and outlet facility) = N100,000.

Cost of bore hole = N150,000.

Cost of treatment = N50,000.

Cost of high breed fingerlings 30×10,000 = N300,000.

Cost of feeding from day one to maturity stage is 200 bags of foreign feed = N1,000,000.

After the average weight of the fish was 1.7kg. And it was sold at 800 naira each. The output was 800×9800 fishes, due to 200 mortality. 800 x 9800 = N7,840,000.

Input is N3.25’million. The profit is N4.59 million after six months of culture.” Following this cost analysis, you can easily invest N3 million and expect a massive turnover of N4 million with six months it will take for you to harvest and sell.

There is no doubt that fish farming is very lucrative and profitable in Nigeria. You need to get it right by drawing complete business plan and following it to the later. You need to apply good management skills and follow the acceptable standard. If you do all these, you are sure to make good profit from your fish farming business in Nigeria.

Ask questions or share your experience in fish business with us through comment below.

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    • Why not, can do extremely well your country and if the farmers there are few, you may just have hit a goldmine. Make sure you do your research well before starting

    • Fast foods people, restaurants, hotels, point and kill beer palours, market women, frozen food sellers, these are all your market. Reach out to them and market your fish. Thousands of metric tons of fish is marketed this way every months

  1. Lawrence Melford

    Thank you so much Mr. Darlinton.i'm a corp member at the moment but i have interest in Agro-Allied business,specifically Poultry,Fish farming and Piggery.this aticle will be of great help to me.
    Do you have other articles on piggery and poultry? That will be helpful too…

  2. This is a great opportunity for people. I strongly believe in Agriculture. It's one sure way to make money in life

  3. hello sir
    i disagree with you on the cost of feeding 10,000 fishes
    it cost about 4million niara to feed 10 fishes at a cost of 400naira per fish for 6months
    thanks

    • True talk. Besides, to get 1.7kg fish each, you need more than 4m may be 5.5m to feed. Who will buy your fish at 800 naira, except you want to hawk it.

      • HIS MERCY

        THE WRITER IS NOT CLEAR ABOUT THE PRICE.HE DOES NOT MEAN 800PKG BUT PER FISH. MIND U, IF A FISH IS WELL FED, AT SIX MONTH A FISH CAN WEIGH UP TO 3KG OR MORE AND BE SOLD MORE THAN 1000.I HAD ONCE TIME SOLD A FISH AT 1500 AT 4MONTH.THE MORE U FEED UR FEED UR FISH WITH RIGHT FEED THE MORE THE WEIGHT ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL

    • That is correct. The price of 800 is what the hawkers sell the fish for after buying it at around N500 from the farm. besides the average weight is 1kg

  4. Thanks for all your education on fish farming. I have interest in this biz,but I don't have the capital. what would you advice?Also I have particular interest in that specie of fish that looks like a cat fish but with a pointed narrow mouth where and how can I get the fingerlings?
    Mr.Pine Makurgi

  5. Thanks for all the info. I have interest in this biz, I have enough land but no funds to commence. Do you have an advice to this? More so I have particular interest in that specie that looks like the cat fish but with a long narrow mouth. Where can one get the fingerlings from?

  6. Great job!! please kindly aid me; a pound of 22mx22m and 1.66 deep, how catfish shall i put in to this pound while grow upto havest

    Thank

    Nathan

  7. eBook is just for reading sake. it does not really give the knowledge needed for fish farming. you have to be on a farm and learn. i am a fish farmer.

  8. Anonymous

    This is very educative thanks a million, your type are very few. God bless u. From Mr Emma O.

  9. Great job you are doing Darlington. But my candid advice to potential fish farmers is to plan their marketing strategy properly. Its the most important aspect to consider. Production is not really the challenge but the marketing is it. We were only two fish farmers in my local government yet i begged buyers even at 400 naira for a 1.5kg cat fish. the local government in question is arguably one of the oldest local government in Nigeria, so the population was there.

  10. Really nice article,marketing your produce could really pose a big chalange.But we dnt need to give up

  11. This is really nice. God bless you.
    Some parts of the country have well developed fish farming areas around the rivers. some of the ponds there are for rentals. so you can rent a pond there and enjoy the experience of other older fish farmers around. This is how I hope to start as I do not have enough capital to build my own pond yet. Also it is worthy of mention that you must not start with 10,000 fishes; 2,000 or less is also possible, especially if you are a newbie. God bless you for this.

  12. Andrew A E

    What of the cost and material analysis for the concrete floor,flooring and the pond body work,like the plastering and finishing work -Andrew A. E.

  13. What are the legal requirements?and licences as well? Please answer asap. Thanks for the article and the anticipated answer.

  14. You must know about the business before investing, plz dont fall the same problem like me. There are many things to know and plz dont borrow money to start the business, use you own money first. but its a good business

  15. Nice article. Very insightful too. However, I feel the cost of fish from the open sea is likely to be a lot cheaper than that from intensive care…. Stiff competition then….. I feel more time should be spent on cost effectiveness to combat competition…

  16. i am interested in a tilapia breeding but not for commercial, just to meet my family needs. can i breed in a gp tank in my backyard and where can i get the juveniles to buy also can you do a write up on breeding snails. thank you. Irene Enitan

  17. Good write up. i'm interested in fish farming on a small scale for personal comsumption. Can the fingerlins do well in a bath, & how many can strive well in a big bath? thanks Joshua

  18. THANKS FOR THE WRITE UP……AM ACTUALLY INTERESTED IN FISH FARMING HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME TO START WITH HALF PLOT OF LAND ?

  19. Nice article, at least it gives u a direction and serves as guide. I believe there is wide market for fish in Nigeria and its a good business and can serve as additional source of income as it can be done as a part time business. very important to note is that starting small is best for beginners then after you have acquired experience and are ready to hit big, you can now look for money. Thanks once again for the article.

  20. Thanks for the info on fish farming. I am actually interested in it, will like to go for training on it but don't know of any Fish farm where I reside in Enugu.

  21. Please the information shared here is wrong concerning producing 10, 000 fingerlings with 200 bags of feed.

  22. I find this very encouraging. However, I do feel that you should have added that starters should do that with limited number of fish say…500, to test if their fish can survive in their ponds before increasing in number.

    Sammyoritz

  23. What is the correct number of bags/cost to feed 10,000finglings to maturity for what period of time?

  24. What is the correct number of bags/cost to feed 10,000 fingerlings to maturity for what period of time?

  25. Thank soo much Sir. I really learnt alot through this articule.
    Sir, I have a plot of land and likewise, I have a very Big compound too with a standard bore hole water system. My questions are: 1. How can I start the biz with d sum of 500k., pond moulding expenses excluded. 2. Like how many fingerlings or juvenile can I get with My little fiunds. 3. How much does each juvenile or fingerlings cost? 4. What could be the size or measurement of the ponds., assuming am projecting for 2 to 3 ponds in a row? 5. Where can I get to buy the fingerlings in Ekiti state? Meanwhile, the 500k will carried the feeding as well. Tnx

  26. Very insightful blog post. Would you agree that a lot of fish farmers in Nigeria fail due to poor farm sites? I've seen this many times where people invest in places with inadequate water supply, bad soils, and are located in remote locations that are not easily accessed by markets and/or supplies. This makes it difficult for them to trade their products.

    • Adamu, you are very right. Most business in Nigeria fails due to lack of proper planning and inadequate knowledge. A lot of people plan poorly and when the business fails, they blame it on the business.

  27. to get some training on fish farming, is there any fish farm you know of in enugu? thanks for the info great work

  28. HIS MERCY

    REARING OF FISH UP TO 6MONTH IS AMOUNT TO CAPITAL TIED DOWN UNECESSARILLY HENCE 4MONTH IS ENOUGH AND AVERAGE COST PER FISH BY 4MONTH IS 250.IF U SELL BASED ON HAWK YOU SELL IT BTW 500 TO 550 PER KG.HOWEVER IF U SELL ALL AT ONCE TO MARKET WOMEN YOU SELL BTW 420 TO 450 PER KG MEANING THAT U MAKE BTW 170 TO 200 PER KG.BUT NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING MUST BE SERIOUSLY PUT INTO CONSIDERATION BEFORE VENTURE INTO FISH FARMING; CAPITAL REQUIRED, SOURCES OF GOOD WATER,SECURITY, SOURCES OF GUD JUVENILES OR FINGERLINGS,NUMBER OF FISHES THAT UR POND CAN ACCOMODATE TO AVOID OVERCROWD, HOW TO FEED THEM TO AVOID EXCESS FEEDING OR UNDERFEEDING,GUD SORCES OF MARKET, MAJORLY BE WARNED WHEN U HARVEST AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SCALING KNOWLDGE OR INVITE THOSE WHO HAVE PERFECT KNOWLEDGE ABOUT MEASURING SCALE OTHERWISE THOSE WICKED BUYERS WILL WEIGH UR 500KG AS LOW AS 200KG.

  29. hello , pls where can i get good JUVENILES OR FINGERLINGS?.
    i have a farm in lagos.
    pls, reply if u can through my email.
    thanks

  30. Yusuf Eguda

    Good job, Darlington. Keep it up. God bless u. Pl. where can I access a training farm closest to me considering the fact that I live in Yola, Adamawa State?
    Secondly, Where can I access a fish smoking machine and an aerator?
    Finally, which feeds do you recommend for fast growth, and local or foreign?
    Thanks.

  31. plz Mr Darlington, i have the plan of starting this business but don’t know how to go about it. my location is Imo State. u can reply me through my email.
    i sincerely appreciate ur work.

  32. thanks for the time you took to explain things about rearing of fish,which type of fish feed one can use for the fish to grow up to 1.7k within 6 months?cos I use different feeds I haven’t gotten fish of 1.7kg in 6 months,please help mein this area of feeding, thanks

  33. I really appreciate ur contribution.
    I really would lyk to know how much it will cost to feed 2000 tilapia fish for 6month. thanks

  34. Ibrahim Magaji

    It’s a very good idea investing in fish farming, I love it. A beginner needs to know how many fish does a pond contains?

  35. thanni ademola

    mr. dalington. i love to go into fishing and snail farming. please do have any ebook of this business that i can get to know full details of the business. if you have, how much can i get the two from you as discount rate. thank you

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