Aquaculture business is a lucrative business worth venturing so long as you have the skills to groom the venture. In a country like Nigeria, venturing into small scale fish pond business to service your community, friends and referrals can be done even as sides hustle to survive in this epoch of economic turbulence. Fish pond involves raising fish in a pond curated by the farmer and a variety of fishes can be reared especially the popular Nigerian catfish. Another perk of start a fish pond apart from selling to customers is that you also benefit by cutting off buying fish from your expenses. It’s a fact that fish remain a basic and most affordable source of protein in Nigeria. There is enough market for fish as the nation still relies on imports to feed her population. Fish groomed in fish ponds are fresh and thus have more nutritive value than frozen or dried fish. Your dream in becoming owning a small scale fish pond kicks off with the following steps
Fish farming must be practically learnt, thus you need to attach yourself to a fish farmer to grasp the rudiments of the business. A hand to hand experience is more beneficial than anything read on papers and would help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls. The training phase would also give you the opportunity to network with other fish farmers or even join some associations. Do not neglect this essential step
This is the preliminary step to take in establishing any enterprise. The research stage entails finding out the task ahead of you. In fish pond business, you should be bothered on where to get your fingerlings, type of pond, water source maintenance culture, type of fish feeds and channels of sales. For example fish farmers can choose from the earthen, concrete, tank and tarpaulin (HDPE) ponds. These pond types depend on the vicinity of the fish pond. Different ponds require different cost and care but as a small scale fish farmer, tarpaulin ponds are best. They are not only affordable but mobile as they can be dismantled anytime. Besides, during your training, you must have acquired the answers to these questions.
A deep and factual research would provide you the needed information to roll out your actions in actualizing the fish pond. It is the bedrock of any business after which actions follow.
Draft A Business Plan
After undergoing research and training you would be better equipped on how to write a pragmatic business plan for your business. The business plan should contain your executive summary, goals, objectives, location, finance, SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis. Even if it’s a three page document, writing your dream business would help keep you in check doing stormy times in the business.
Despite being a small scale pond to cater for a controlled audience, the business is capital intensive. Thus you should keep your eyes on your pocket to predict if your finances can sustain the business. A relatively small fish firm may cost up to N500, 000 and more depending on the size and number of your ponds. Some ponds can take up to 1,000 fingerlings or juveniles. The capital would assist you to care for construction of the pond and other equipment.
Construct the Pond and Supply Equipment
Based on your findings and training, you must have decided on the type of pond to use for your business. Get the labourers to help construct the pond be it concrete, tarpaulin or tank and supply needed equipment, like pipes and tanks for storing water and passing to the fishes. Other essential tools are gloves, nets, bowls, etc.
Buy Fingerling and Feeds
Fingerlings or juveniles are baby fish which you would have to nurture in your pond. Buy juveniles that suit the climate of Nigeria or any part of the states you reside in. Fingerlings are easily sourced from fish farmers who specialize in hatching them within 4 to 8 weeks. As well, buy feeds for the fingerlings. Fish feeds vary too, so buy the type that is more beneficial to your fingerlings. The most common variant of catfish fingerlings are clarias gariepinus, heterobranchus bidorsalis and heteroclarias.
Start Marketing and Farming Activities
Once you have introduced your fingerlings into the pond and start nurturing them with the feed, start marketing. Tell your neighbours, friends, acquaintances or even local market sellers that you are now a fish farmer. You can never tell when they would be craving for fish barbecue or pepper soup and you might ring up in their mind.
Your daily farming activities include feeding the fish at least twice daily, changing the pond water regularly to avoid foul smell and poisoning the fish from bacteria and debris. Likewise, since all creatures develop differently, you can sort the fish as they grow, keep similar sizes together and generally maintain the fish pond. The longer you feed the fish and keep them alive the more their economic value appreciates. Allow your fish to mature for at least 5 months before selling them off. For instance, catfish can reach maturity at 4 months while tilapia may take considerably 7 months to attain 800 grams weight.