How To Start A Profitable Catfish Business In Nigeria


The production of catfish in Nigeria however, from current studies showed that catfish production, distribution and marketing are way lower than its demand. Six out of every ten Nigerians do eat catfish on weekly basis. That’s a whooping percentage of above 65.

Unfortunately, a lot of people, especially those who have an interest in agricultural related businesses, don’t know the potentials of catfish farming in Nigeria. That is exactly why we’ll be discussing how to start the profitable business of Catfish Farming in Nigeria, and the hidden opportunities therein.

Catfish Farming in Nigeria: Overview

Before we proceed, you would agree that catfish is one of the commonly eaten fishes in homes, hotels, bars, joints, relaxation spots, and so on. When the word “point and kill” flashes by your ears, don’t squeeze your face wondering what it means. At joints, you could walk up to the fish bowl and point to a live (fresh) catfish you want killed and either used for Pepper-soup or just grilled and peppered.

There are Catfish millionaires in Nigeria, and about one-third of them didn’t really make deep research. The only fact they held on to, is that Catfish business can make one rich; and they went ahead, gave it their all, and now, their fish farming business is super-thriving.

But it gives you, as a Catfish farming enthusiast, an extra edge over the ‘trial-runners’ to have some sort of ‘The Beginners’ Guide’ in the palm of your hands, which you can follow and check back on the instructions, or make some personnel extra extensive research on how to go about your business.

The common aim of every business person is taking their business to a higher level than surrounding competition, and that’s what this summarized guide aims to help you with. Let’s quickly disclose to you, what you need to know to start a Catfish business in Nigeria.

Some important questions to ask before embarking on the Catfish farming business in Nigeria are:

  • How much capital can I afford to start the business? (Capital would determine your starting scale – Small Scale or Large Scale.)
  • How many Catfish farmers are in my vicinity? (Knowing this would inevitably help you attach yourself for practical training, if you want, and would also help you determine the competition in your farm area.)
  • What is the demand for Catfish in my area? (Demand is not equal everywhere.)
  • Can I have the time to oversee the farm or do I need to employ a fish farmer? (You need to know for proper budgeting.)
  • What is Catfish farming’s ROI (Return on Investment.)

Catfish Farming in Nigeria: Required Facilities

As with almost any other farming business in any location, starting a Catfish farming business in Nigeria requires you have some important facilities on ground, where you can comfortably set up your farm and without which you are yet to start.

Piece of Land: You would unavoidably need an area of land to start your fish farming business, but it all depends on what you can afford. If it’s for a small scale Catfish farming business, then you can use a space as small as 1.5 square metres by 1.5 square meters. However, if you have some extra cash to spare, especially since you’re the bigger your space, the more fishes you can rear; which also means the more returns you’re looking at, then you use half a plot of land or even a full plot.

Fish Ponds: You can get a space or a land for yourself but construction of fish ponds, not very likely. You need to hire the service of a pond construction expert/engineer. It must be carefully set up and the plumbing works must be accurately connected. An error here might mean the beginning of the end of the business. You can use concrete or plastic ponds

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Overhead Tank: The overhead tank is the water reservoir for the fishes. The tank might have an independent borehole or it can share from your own domestic borehole (if it’s around your house). Using chemically treated water is not good for rearing healthy fishes.

Fingerlings: There are various recommended farms where you can get your fingerlings from. Through appropriate consultation with a farming experts or specialist in fingerlings, you can evaluate fingerlings. If possible, check from a few of the recommended farms before making a pick on stock of fingerlings as catfish fingerlings are of different breeds, and it is very important that as a catfish farmer, you take your time to identify fast growing and disease resistant breeds of fingerlings to ensure profitability in a Catfish venture.

Knowledge: If everything works out at the first try, it’ll definitely be thanks to the knowledge you have about the business. If doesn’t, you can always give it another shot because nobody can take away the knowledge of the business in your head. Attach yourself to a Catfish farm and work (for free if they’re not willing to pay). It is imperative you get trained for at least two to four months before setting up your farm.

Catfish Farming in Nigeria: Feasibility Study

The feasibility study included in this guide is for a farm capacity of 10,000 fingerlings and for a farm that is just starting. The Capital covers from pond construction (which is the common concrete type), fish feeding, production, to marketing. The farm has 10 ponds to contain 1,000 fingerlings cum Catfish each.

To construct one concrete fish pond measuring 3m X 2.5m X 1.4m (l/w/h). The materials and prices below are rough estimates of materials.

Blocks (N120,000), Sand (N28,000), Cement (N130,000), Gravel (N64,000) General Farm treatment (N50,000), Water supply (N58,000), Misc (N100,000) Fingerlings (1 is N30, so N30 X 10,000 = N300,000), Cost of feeding from day one to full maturity stage (N1,000,000), Workmanship (N150,000).

Total: N2,000,000

Note: The more the quantity you purchase, the better since you can get every one of the fishes out alive when they’re ready to be sold. In this case, 300 fishes died and the rest were sold at N800 each. The selling price also depends on location.

N800 X 9700 = N7,660,000

After six months of tendering and rearing, the gain was a whooping N5,760,000 after six months, which isn’t bad at all. The number one money consuming factor is the fish feeds, as you can see from the feasibility study.

The more the investment, the more you can expect as ROI.

Catfish Farming in Nigeria: Risks Involved

  • Managing a fish farm is relatively more difficult than a goat or snail farm or even poultry.
  • Losses resulting from mistakes or management slips is always more fatal in fish farms than in any other case.
  • Fish from fish farms are always priced higher than freshly caught fishes. So you might find it more difficult selling your fishes if there are many fishermen in your market.
  • Setting up a fish farm is very capital intensive. Much more than most other animals.

Catfish Farming in Nigeria: Advantages

  • Fish sells faster than most other animal products in the market.
  • Fish grows faster than most other animals; hence, the period of the ROI is shorter.
  • Fishes are bought in bulk also by people making health and beauty products.
  • There’s a very steady demand for fishes in the market.
  • The ROI from fish farming is very attractive and is enough compensation for your time and money.

If you want to go into fish farming full time, be sure to make inquiries and ask questions. If you already have the experience, kindly use the comment section to share your knowledge with others. Thanks.


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