Starting a fish farming in 2023: things you must know

If you are starting a fish farming in 2023, things have changed. The world has changed. Agriculture has changed. The way we used to farm before has changed. Yet Fish farming remains a profitable and safe venture for new entrants into agriculture. Here are 7 tips to keep an eye for as you start your fish farm.

Let us dive in and discuss 7 questions you should answer before you start a fish farm in 2023.

1. Start with the market or sales target.

The world is a global village now.

You can decide to export your fish. The requirements of NAFDAC  mean that you should let the decision of your target market influence the setup of your farm.

If you want to export your fish you know that your ponds water source must be controlled. You cannot use runoff water for the farm. You would need a borehole that can be tested.

If you are raising over 20,000 fish, you know that you would need those clients who buy fish in tonnes. They would always bring buses, so you need parking space close to the ponds. You would also prefer earthen ponds because you would be keeping the fish for at least 7 months.

But if you are doing about 10 thousand fish, you can do mobile tarpaulin fish ponds. You can stagger your fishes because you would sell your fishes little by little rather than the whole pond at once.

To know the number of fish you can raise. Use 700naira as a cost price to raise one fish to 1kg.

That means 1000 fishes is 700,000. Oya realistically, how many fishes can you raise to 1kg?

Please don’t start a farm and then stop short because of funds. It would make you under pressure and then sell at a loss price because you don’t have the funds to continue to feed the fishes.

Start small and let the farm grow.

akinfish and tarpaulin wooden ponds

2. Secure your water.

As I said earlier, water is one of the 3 most important things in fish farming.

It is called Aquaculture for a reason.

Water cannot be rationed, it cannot be managed. You need a borehole or a running stream or a swamp to ensure you have running water year-round. 

Water should always be readily available.

Discuss with your borehole guy, you need an industrial borehole. It must support a 2-horse power pumping machine and at least a 2-inch pipe coming out from the borehole. I am serious! It is better we have one very good borehole than have 3 small insufficient boreholes.

Surface Pumping machine

3. Use production target to determine ponds type and size

There are different fish pond types and they best suit different fish farming activities.

There are tanks, earthen ponds, fiberglass setups, concrete ponds, mobile fish ponds, and recirculatory systems.

Fiberglass setups and recirculatory systems are usually best for fish hatching and the creation of juveniles and fingerlings.

Mobile ponds, Concrete ponds, and Tanks are best for mélange and smoking-sized fish.

Earthen ponds are best for table size fishes and broodstock.

When starting a fish farm in 2023, make sure you calculate your stocking density.

You should know the exact number of fish to put in each pond.

A 10*10*4ft mobile pond would take about 800 fish.

The smallest earthen pond you should do for growing out fishes should be 50ft*30ft depending on water availability. That can take about 500 fish.

Asher different sizes of tarpaulin ponds

4. Innovation: What is your advantage?

Please know that every farm is different, yet every farm is the same business.

As you are coming into the fish industry, what is your comparative advantage?

Is it that you are closer to your consumers so you can serve them better and fresher fish?

Is it that you are close to a water source and so water which is one of the three most important factors in fish farming is not a challenge to you?

Can you use Solar to power your pumping machines rather than a fuel-powered generator?

Would you think of reducing labor costs by deploying an Automatic Fish Feeder and thus your product is cheaper?

Are you thinking of Climate change and its challenges in you starting the fish farm in 2023?

fish cages

5. The almighty Feed issue

Fish feed should be about 70 percent expense on a well-set-up fish farm.

If you set up your fish farm properly then you should have feed expense, water change, cost of fingerlings and juvenile, and cost of labor (staff salaries) as your topmost expense in your fish farm.

Now I know that you have heard that you can make your own feed, it is true.

And I do make my own feed in some farms; however, I don’t make my own feed in all of my farms.

Some of the farms are not big enough to make that venture worth it.

I personally advise that if you are not doing 10,000 fish and above you shouldn’t bother with fish feed-making machines.

The money you would use to buy and run those machines is higher than what you think you would save from buying a normal branded feed.

There are good and economic fish feeds available right now.

 See this article where I talked about how to make a decision on which feed to use in starting your fish farm in 2023.

You can use either imported fish feeds like Skretting and Coppens or made in Nigeria feeds like Vital, Top, Bluecrown or Ecofloat feeds.

fish feeds

6. Fish Processing the superpower

Please, as you are starting a fish farm in 2023, factor in fish processing. This is dried fish or smoked fish depending on whatever you call it. 

Smoked fish brings more proft. 

It increases your profit by about 13 percent.

You would need a fish smoking kiln, some materials such as sealing machine and nafdac grade nylons and you are good to go !

fish smoking kiln2
nylon for smoked fish
smoked fish sealing machine

7. The Source of your Juveniles or fingerlings

This is a big issue that either makes or mars fish farms that are just starting.

Some people unknowingly buy runts and keep feeding and feeding and the fish don’t grow.

This is not always the case as there are other factors that make fish have stunted growth e.g overcrowding or poor feed.

But buying runts as fingerlings is a real possibility for anyone starting a fish farm in 2023. The best way to avoid this is to buy fish only from a reputable fish hatcher.

This article here would teach you how to identify and buy the best-growing fish from any batch of fish.

fingerlings or juveniles 2

8. The Administration of Agriculture

The truth friends is that there is a lot of politics going on in and around our environment that can either be support or hindrance to starting our fish farm.

Government Agencies, Grant and Loan applications, and processes, digital empowerment can be an addition or a blessing to a farm.

Even your staff on the farm can be a hindrance to your business.

I like to put accountability structures when doing business with family.

I trust you as my brother o, but let’s just have proper record-taking for accountability’s sake so that we can show our records to people that can give us a loan or grant sef. You Gerrit?

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