It is interesting times of sorts as more young Nigerians in urban centres are venturing into catfish farming. At the beginning of October 2018 we delivered three thousand (3000) juveniles to a brand new catfish farmer in Lagos and in the fourth week of October 2008 we delivered five thousand (5000) juveniles to another farmer in Enugu State.
We were impressed by the boldness of these two farmers considering that there is the somewhat conventional recommendation that first time catfish farmers start with growing 1000 juveniles.
We observed that the two farmers did their research before deciding on the relatively significant juveniles stock for starts. If they follow up the due diligence they have shown so far with commitment to good catfish farming practice and if they also take good decisions along the way they will get it right first time.
In the final week of October 2018 we assisted the farmer in Lagos to sort and count their fish. At the same time, we have been receiving updates from the farmer in Enugu and they are making good progress.
In the first week of September, 2018 we delivered catfish juveniles to an earthen pond farm in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria.
First we inspected the state of the ponds to receive the fish, then counted the fish, and noted the count before introducing them into the ponds.
The first meal of the juveniles in their new pond will be given to them in the morning of the following day, about 12 hours after their introduction in their new home. They would need all the rest during the night to recover from the stress of transporting them from our farm to our client farm.
Before we left the site we observed that the fish were swimming actively in the ponds. The client was satisfied, we were satisfied, and before we left we advised the client to monitor the fish and keep us informed with their observations.
A good benchmark for budget planning to grow catfish is estimating the cost required to feed the fish till they reach market size. I recommend that every fish farmer does this at the beginning of a fish growing cycle.
When feeding of catfish is done optimally, 1000 kilogrammes (kg) of feed will convert to 1000 kilogrammes of catfish flesh.
You can choose to grow 1000 kg of catfish by:
Growing 3000 pieces of catfish juveniles to average mass of 330 grammes in 3 months; or
2000 pieces of juveniles to average mass of 500 grammes in 4 months; or
1000 pieces of juveniles to average mass of 1 kg in 6 months.
Whichever method you choose from above, it is recommended that you grow with floating feed to 50% of body mass and complete with sinking feed for the remaining 50% of body mass.
Cost of feed (as of March, 2018) for raising 1 tonne of catfish.
500 kg of bagged floating feed will cost roughly N270, 000 (two hundred and seventy thousand naira); and
500 kg of bagged sinking feed will cost roughly N170, 000.
Going by the above you can estimate that it will cost you N440,000 to grow 1 tonne of catfish flesh.
We can deliver catfish fingerlings or juveniles of the hetero-clarias (hybrid) specie to you anywhere in Nigeria from Lagos State.
The prices of catfish fingerlings and juveniles as of November, 2017 are:
Fingerlings (4 weeks)
Juveniles (8 weeks)
0 – 5,000 pieces
N25.00 per fish
N35.00 per fish
5,001 – 10,000 pieces
N20.00 per fish
N30.00 per fish
10,000 and above
N15.00 per fish
N25.00 per fish
Procedure to order your catfish fingerlings and juveniles
The first step is to call 08077776861 to confirm the availability of fingerlings.
If you want fingerlings (4 weeks old catfish) and they are available they can be packaged and shipped to you within three (3) working days after payment has been made for them.
If you want juveniles (8 weeks old catfish) then you will first call to confirm for the availability of fingerlings. If fingerlings are available then you will book for them. This means you pay for them. On our part we will feed them and take good care of them till they grow to juvenile stage after 3 – 4 weeks.
You can monitor the progress of growth of your fish within this period. When the fish have reached juvenile stage we will package them for you and send them by night through a reliable transport company. You can then pick the fish up at the transporter’s motor park the following morning.
Processing catfish using firewood and charcoal fuelled oven gives the fish a unique taste that is reminicent of traditional home cooking. The process is meticulous and it results in smoked and dried catfish that attracts premium price from discerning consumers.
What you need:
50 kilogrammes (kg) of live catfish
500 grammes (g) of table salt
Two large plastic basins/bowls and trays
A brick oven (powered by firewood and charcoal)
Two bundles of firewood
One sack of charcoal
Knife or razor blades
Day 2 – Drying
Day 3 – Drying
Day 4 – Drying
You can enroll for a practical hands on training course with us at our farm. Alternatively, you can purchase an e-copy of our detailed instruction manual with photos to guide you on catfish processing. Contact us if you are interested in learning how to add value to fresh catfish by processing it.
We can deliver 1 kilogramme of smoked and dried catfish to your doorstep anywhere in Lagos, Nigeria for =N=5,000 (five thousand naira).
1 kg pack of our processed catfish contains 12 – 15 pieces of catfish. Our catfish is properly dried that if you store it in a dry covered container it will remain in good condition even after 6 weeks.
You can cook tasty meals of soups, stews, jollof rice and yam porridge with our catfish. You’ll love it!
Order your catfish today. Orders above 2 kg come with discount.
Do you grow catfish in Lagos, Ogun or any other state in Nigeria? Do you need a reliable source for your catfish fingerlings and juveniles? We can help you.
Fingerlings are catfish that are 2 – 4 weeks old while juveniles are 5 – 8 weeks old.
The commonly grown catfish species in Nigeria are: Clarias gariepinus, Heterobranchus bidorsalis, and hybrid of Clarias and Heterobranchus (Heteroclarias).
Clarias species grow quickly and is good specie to stock if you want to sell of your fish within 4 months as melange. If you take good care of them they should weigh 0.6 – 0.7 kilogrammes (kg) average within 4 months. Clarias can tolerate being stocked relatively crowded in concrete ponds. You have to sort every 3 – 4 weeks though and keep fish of similar size in the same pond. Clarias can grow to 2 kg in 8 months if you take good care of them. If you are going to stock catfish this long then you should have the facilities to space the fish out as they grow. You must also have the market that is willing to pay premium price for catfish that weigh 1 – 2 kg.
Hetero branchus bidorsalis
Hetero branchus bidorsalis can grow up to 10 kilogrammes. They like to be spaced out and do better in earthen ponds. Hetero branchus is the recommended species if you have customers that demand big fish and are willing to pay the right price for it.
Hybrid of Clarias and Heterobranchus (Heterclarias)
Heteroclarias combines the good features of the two catfish species named above namely: fast growth and big size. When you get it right with the sourcing, feeding and growing conditions this species can grow to over 1.2 kg in 6 months. This size of fish commands premium price in the market. There must be reliable demand if you must stock heteroclarias.
One of the big problems of catfish farming in Nigeria is availability of reliable catfish fingerlings and juveniles when the farmer wants to stock. This lack of availability sometimes forces the farmer to stock the first species available to him or her when he or she is ready to stock his or her farm.
The fingerlings and juveniles we source for you are hatched in Ogun State, Nigeria and we can deliver to you in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun, Rivers, Delta and most other states in Nigeria based on agreement.
It is important that you give us early notice of 3 weeks when you want us to supply you with catfish fingerlings and juveniles in Nigeria.
The business of catfish farming in Nigeria is not difficult to engage yourself in if you have the resources to do so. Catfish farming involves growing catfish to table-size, marketing them and selling them at a good price. It is a viable business that many people have gone in and out of for various reasons. Some have succeeded at it and made handsome profit while others have failed and abandoned it altogether.
Nonetheless, more people want to get into the business of catfish farming in Nigeria and they want to get it right. They want to succeed at it and make profit and so I get regular emails and calls from such people on what they need to do to operate a viable catfish business in Nigeria. I will try and answer them in a simple way that has worked for me.
My advice is to start small. Start with growing say one thousand (1000) pieces of juvenile catfish to table size in 15 weeks and selling them. Here are tips on the basic things you need and how to go about it.
Half plot of land;
Constant supply of fresh water from well or borehole;
3 Ponds each of about 8 square metres in area. The ponds can be made of concrete, tarpaulin, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC);
Plastic containers and one square metre of net.
2. Good breed of juvenile catfish
What are fingerlings? Catfish aged 0 – 4 weeks.
What are juvenile catfish? Catfish aged 4 – 8 weeks.
What are the catfish species commonly grown in Nigeria? Clarias gariepinus, Heterobranchus bidorsalis, and hybrid of Clarias and Heterobranchus (Heteroclarias).
Which catfish breed is best for growing in Nigeria? All 3 mentioned above will do well if properly managed.
How do you know a good catfish breed? They are healthy and lively at the fingerlings stage.
3. Three – four months feeding budget.
It is important to ensure that you have a reliable supply of feed for the duration you grow your catfish. As of October, 2016 you need about two hundred thousand naira (N200, 000) to feed 1000 pieces of catfish from juvenile to table size in 15 weeks. Some brands of bagged floating catfish feed available in Lagos, Nigeria are Coppens and Vital feed which as of October, 2016 cost N11,500 and N5,800 per bag respectively. A bag holds 15kg of floating catfish feed.
4. Catfish farming activities
Feeding. Catfish are carnivorous animals. You feed the catfish 2 times daily in the mornings and evenings. You can feed 3 times daily too but be consistent with whichever number of times you choose to feed your catfish. When you feed the catfish spread the feed over the area of the pond so that every fish has a good chance of feeding well. Feed till satiation. Use quality feed. The cost per bag of quality feed might seem high but the aim is to grow the fish from juvenile to table size as quickly as possible in less than 16 weeks. In the long run feeding with quality feed saves time and money.
Change the catfish pond water regularly. Endeavour to change the water in the pond every 3 days. In the first month changing every 4 days will be okay.
Like human beings catfish grow at different rates. Sort the fish by size every 3 – 4 weeks and keep catfish of similar size in the same pond.
Catfish in the ponds should be spaced out. Overcrowding of catfish wastes feed and slows growth.
Favour the faster growing fish. Feed them well and prioritise their spacing. If you do it right they should hit table size in 10 – 12 weeks.
Sell your catfish as soon as they reach the marketable size you aim for. When you clear the faster growing fish you can space out the remaining fish to occupy the pond space vacated by the faster growing fish.
Catfish eat more feed as they grow older so the longer you keep them in the ponds when you can sell them at a good price the more costs you incur. A substantial cost of operating a catfish farm goes to buying their feed.
The profitability of your catfish farming activities depends on the effectiveness of your marketing. Your marketing should begin the day you decide to go into the business. You should keep abreast of:
The price people buy their catfish from sellers in the market.
The price sellers buy their catfish from the catfish farms.
How sellers buy their catfish from the catfish farms.
The cost of catfish feed.
The total costs of running your catfish farming business.
Records are very important to your business. Types of records you should keep are:
Purchase records. This includes the day you buy your fingerlings or juveniles, the quantity you buy, and the cost. You should also record the quantity of feed you buy, the days you buy them and the frequency with which you buy them. Also record the frequency with which you feed the catfish.
Financial records. You should record the costs of purchases you make as well as the value of sales you make. Record the money input to the business and the sources.
Customer Records. It is important that you know the people that buy from you and why they buy from you.
7. Know other farmers and farms around you. Let them know you too.
Understanding the above steps, implementing them and being committed to the enterprise of growing, marketing and selling your catfish are key to running a viable farm. When you master how to grow 1000 pieces of catfish to table size you will be better prepared to scale up the farm to grow 10, 000 or even 20, 000 catfish. That is when the real business begins.
Another step up the value chain of catfish farming in Nigeria is having the capability to process and preserve your catfish. This will be the subject of another write-up.
The current president of the African Development Bank and former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, sees farming as a business. I see farming as business too and I encourage people who want to engage in farming to see farming in the same way.
Food will always sell because people will always eat.