How To Start A Profitable Fish Farming In Ghana

Thousands of Africans venture into agriculture yearly.

This movement not only grows the industry, but contributes some efforts to reduce unemployment and promote economic growth.

While many farmers focus on various other profitable agricultural businesses , several others focus on aquaculture.

According to wikipedia, “Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants”.

While Aquaculture covers multiple facets, fish farming is the most common in Ghana, and Africa as a whole.

Fish farming is a profitable business that’s widespread across various parts of Ghana.

The insatiable demand for fishery products like Tilapia, Catfish, and Mackerel (Salmon) in Ghana has constantly self-promoted the steady growth and expansion of the industry.

These factors, coupled with the current support of institutions, the Ghanaian government, and several other African countries to promote agriculture and also support fish farmers, makes the industry one of the most lucrative agricultural business segments to venture into.

BENEFITS OF FISH FARMING(AQUACULTURE)

1). A Explosive Market:

The market potential for an aquaculture business is
enormous in Ghana, Africa, and many other
countries in the world.

Aside from the fact that fishery products are one of
the most sought after and consumed agricultural
products in Ghana, it is also cheaper than meat,
making it an affordable meal when the buyer either
cannot afford to purchase meat, or simply just wants
to have a fish meal.

The explosive market size of this business makes it
one of the most important agricultural business
opportunities to venture into for any new, existing,
or non-interested farmer.

2). Low Operating Cost:

The cost of starting up and running an aquaculture
farm is low, compared to many other agricultural
business ideas.

In direct comparison to poultry
farming, fish farming has a lower operational budget
because of its cheaper fish feed and running costs.

Also, while poultry products are highly susceptible
to dangerous diseases (like Bird Flu) which could
cost the farm owner a lot of wasted investments if
not handled properly, fish farming products have
lesser threatening vices.

3). Government Support:

With the governments around Africa currently
embarking on a large campaign to motivate the
people on the continent to invest in agriculture with
attractive capital incentives, it only makes this
moment a perfect time to consider fish farming as
one of the lucrative agriculture business ideas to
venture into.

4). Great Source Of Protein:

Irrespective of the financial benefits fish farming
poses, fishery products been a source of protein,
also contributes its health benefits to the general
populace.

With millions, if not billions of people
consuming fishery products everyday, fish farming
would constantly stand as a healthy proteinous
meal with rich health benefits to everyone.

The Various Types Of Fish Farming

1). Catfish Farming:

This is the most popular aquaculture business in
Ghana, because of the popularity of the breed of
fishes grown.

Catfishes are the most common
fishery products used in African meals at various
households, restaurants, events, hotels, and a lot
more.

Their ease of cultivation and demand makes
most aquaculture farmers to focus on growing
catfishes instead of other breeds.

2). Tilapia Farming:

This aquaculture business is run with fresh water
fishes inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers, and
lakes.

These Tilapia are the second most popular
fishes used in Ghanaian meals. They’re of increasing
important in aquaculture all over the world.

The fact
that these fishes grow rapidly and tolerate high
stocking densities and poor water quality, makes
them a lucrative breed for fish farmers to grow.

3). Salmon (Mackerel) Farming:

Salmons are fresh water fishes that usually migrate
to the ocean, and return to fresh waters to
reproduce.

While they are generally harvested in the
wild, they are also grown in fish farms.

Salmons
account for a high percentage of fishery products
consumed in Ghana. They’re mostly know as
“Titus” in Ghana, and are purchased by millions of
households on a daily basis.

6 Things You Need To Know Before
Starting A Fish Farm

1). Location Of The Fish Farm:

When selecting the location for your fish farm, you
need to consider it’s proximity from the nearest
town, the security in the vicinity, the presence or
absence of fish prey, and more.

Ensure the environment for growing your fish farm is
ideal for your business to thrive.

2). Land Mass:

You need to consider the size of the land you intend
to use to grow your fish farming business. Usually,
a plot of land or two is great to start out a fish
farming business. But where you don’t have the
luxury of land space, you can start out in your
backyard, and grow from there.

Acquiring the land mass to set up your fish farm
should be strategically done. You need to get an
affordable property in a not-so rural area, but still
close to a major city.

This way, you can purchase
the lands a lot cheaper than you would have in a
city, and also have the luxury of purchasing as many
affordable plots of lands as possible.

3). Pond Planning, Size, Design,
Construction, And Consideration:

You need to determine the type of pond that you
need constructed. For a levee-type pond, a flat area
that has access to a well could be used. But for a
watershed pond, steeper areas near a natural
source of water are to be used.

It’s usually best to contact the services of an
aquaculture consultant. They’d get your full
requirements, examine your goals, determine what
you truly need, and ensure the construction work
and general requirements of the fish ponds are
properly met.

4). Source Of Water Supply:

The source of water supply to the fish ponds is
important to proper development and maturity of
your fish farm for commercial use.

It’s important to
have a proper borehole system built in the vicinity to
ensure a reliable source of water supply.

This gets
even more crucial with the fact that the water would
have to be changed on a regular interval, and a lack
there in, of proper adequate water supply to ensure
the survival of these fishes, would lead to a
considerable loss in investments.
You must know that rain water and chemically
treated water are totally out of the fish farming
process. They’re unsafe for the fishes, and cannot
be recommended for standard use.
Get a steady flow of fresh water, so your pond can
thrive.

5). Storage System:

How the fishes feed and other items are stored, has
to be considered and set up right from the onset.
Ensure the feeds are stored in a cool and dry place.

Also ensure they’re not exposed to little farm
animals that could make holes in the bags and feed
on them.

6). A Good Knowledge Of Running The Farm:

This is probably the most important thing to know.
You must have a sound knowledge of how to run an
aquaculture business.

Attend a lecture or a seminar
on aquaculture, so you can learn a lot more about
the rudiments of fish farming. Equipped with this
knowledge, you’d gain valuable information about
fish farming, and every it takes to turn out
successful.

The Risks And Challenges Of Fish
Farming

1). Poor Farm Site:

A poor fish farm location can impact negatively on
the farm’s full potential for growth.

Due to it’s
difficult inaccessibility to a city area, sales may
slow down drastically for the farm owner.

2). Poor Pond Planning And Design:

A poorly planned fish farm can lead to leakages,
disorganisation, and several other factors that
eventually pile up unwanted expenses.

3). Poor Market Survey:

Without doing a proper feasibility study of the fish
farming business by estimating the size of your
potential market, cost of farm products, and a lot
more, you could be headed for failure, or a major
loss from the onset.

4). Little To No Experience:

An ardent lack of experience can lead you to waste
your entire investment on your fish farm.

5). Competition From Fisher Men:

With lower costs of fishes being sold by fisher men,
the revenues your fish farm generates could be
negatively impacted.

Sample Business Plan/Feasibility
Study On How To Start A Catfish
Farming Business

Step 1:

With $500 to $750, you
can setup a 10ft X 10ft earth fish pond with a mild
depth of about 4ft to 6ft.

This constructed
dimension would be able to hold about 1,000 grown
fishes. You can also construct a concrete pond, use
a plastic tank, or a drum pond.

Step 2:

Before you start stocking your fishes, you need to
disinfect your pond with an anti-fungi and an anti-
bacteria.

You should also balance your fish pond’s
organic and ion concentration by fertilization with
banana leaves or poultry dungs.

Step 3:

You need to purchase fingerlings and juveniles for
your fish pond. An economic recession
and other vices can fluctuate the prices of these
fingerlings.

Step 4:

Your have to feed your fishes once or twice a day.

Feeding carries the bulk of the operating cost.

Catfishes in hatcheries are to be fed meals that are
properly ground, or feeds that that are flour-like,
and contain 45 to 50 percent of protein.

Small
floating pellets ( about 1/8 inch diameter)
containing about 35 percent of protein should be fed
to larger fingerlings.

Floating feed of approximately
5/32 – 3/16 inch in diameter containing about 28 to
32 percent of protein should be fed to advanced
fingerlings (which are about 5 to 6 inches long).
Proper feeding intervals can get the fishes to weigh
as much as 1.5kg after five months of adequate
care.

Feeding the catfishes is generally about 60% of your
entire farm costs.

The way the meals are fed
to catfishes have to be carefully executed because
700 two months old fishes can finish a 15kg feed
bag in just 10 days! This high cost of catfish feed
can greatly affect your profitability.

Another alternative is to source locally made fish
feeds. With fewer individuals producing locally
made catfish feed, finding and gaining access to
these can pose a big challenge.
You have to feed your fishes in such a way that they
you don’t pollute the water.

This can be achieved by
practising spot fishing. You shouldn’t also change
the water immediately after feeding, to avoid the
fishes vomiting their meals. And you should
constantly apply supplements like Livestovit and
Aquapro to protect your fishes from diseases.

Step 5:

As your fishes grow, you need to constantly sort
them to avoid larger fishes feeding on the smaller
ones.

This is best done by putting fishes of the
same size inside a pond together to reduce their cannibalistic instincts.

This doesn’t just ensure a
bulk survival, but also ensures adequate growth and
development because, they can equally compete for
food, water, and space.

Step 6:

Change the pond’s water on a regular basis to
improve the fishes longevity, and reduce the
chances of diseases springing up on your fish farm.

Clean water should be used to replace the existing
water every 2 to 3 days. Without proper water
management, most of your fishes wouldn’t alive to
maturity.

Step 7:

With the cost of catfishes in Ghana, you need to do a really good market
feasibility study to understand the type of buyers
that’d most likely patronise your own fish farm.
Ideally, this should be the very first thing you do
before even starting a fish farm, but assuming
you’ve already done this, contact potentially
identified buyers, and offer to sell your fishes to
them on more favourable terms. Make sure your
buyers are aware of your fishery products about 2
months before they’re fully grown, to increase your
chances of selling out most of your merchandise
quickly.

The ultimate goal of every fish farmer is to grow
their fishes to achieve a body weight of 1kg within
the shortest possible time.

If this is managed and
done right, the fishes can achieve this size in four to
six months.

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