If you thinking of starting a fish farming business in Africa, then please take the time to read through this article.
As a fish scientist with over 5 years experience in fish breeding and over 10 years experience in Fish farm management;
Here are my top four advice to aspiring fish farmers.
- Start small
- Be patient
- Don’t think of profit immediately
- Be ready to work hard.
1. Start Small
Starting small will help you in two ways:
- It will help you understand if fish farming is the right business for you: This is very important, because, it is wrong to jump into any business without proper research, planning, and budgeting.
- It will build your confidence and open your eyes to understand the market: Apart from feed, the other challenge fish farmers faced is marketing, yes, there is readily available market, but getting into the market and getting out of it with a lot of profit requires a lot of techniques and connection (we will get to this)
2. Be Patient.
Patience is a good virtue if you want to succeed as a fish farmer. On a serious note, if you don’t have patience please don’t go into fish farming.
3. Don’t think of profit immediately
Profit will not roll in immediately like in most businesses. It may take more than a year or two before you start enjoying the profit but it will certainly come as long as you adhere to number 4.
4. Be ready to work hard.
Fish farming no doubt is easy, but you have to be ready to work hard too. Especially in the area of networking and finding buyers for your fishes
This what you need to get started in Fish farming
- Fish species
- Water/Drainage facilities
- Knowledge and Experience
You can use Concrete Pond, Earthen pond or Tarpaulin tanks depending on your budget and investment portfolio. Concrete and Earthen pond will need a service of a fish expert who will guide a mason through the construction process. Tarpaulin tanks are readily available in the market. If you are going for a tarpaulin tank, you need to ensure that the water control structure on the tank is well fitted.
2. Fish Species
Catfish and Tilapia are two of the most cultured fish species in Africa, before choosing a fish species for culture, ensure that you do market research in order to find out if people within your market environment will buy the fish.
You have to also outline possible competitors, and outline possible buyers, this will help you to develop a framework for your marketing strategy.
Once you decide on the species, based on market research, you can proceed to the next level and purchase the juveniles of the fish from any reputable fish farm or through a consultant.
3. Water/Drainage Facilities
Fish lives in water, so in order to get good quality stock after 4 months or more depending on your culture cycle, you need good water/drainage facility for your fish pond.
The number one challenge of fish farming in Africa is feed. Most of the commercial feed we have is very costly and the return on an investment after every breeding cycle is always low. So apart from the commercial feed, you have to think of how to prepare your own feed as you progress if you want to enjoy the maximum profit from fish farming. (We will do a detailed article on this soon).
5. Knowledge/and Experience
Getting the require knowledge either through research or refresher courses will help you a lot. I always advise newbie fish farmers to get an experienced fish farmer as a mentor or an experienced fish scientist as a consultant. Any of them can be an invaluable asset to the farm.
The next stage will be filling with water in the ponds or tanks to the required level, stocking of the juveniles and management of the pond.