In a situation where opportunities are limited in both private and public sector, especially in Africa economy, people often look for what to do and investment decisions to make. This desire for investment opportunities in certain sectors of the economy is leading many small scale investors into Agriculture, specifically catfish farming. Awareness is being created daily in electronic, print and other media. Hence many people are ready to take advantage of this sector for possible investment.
Before you invest your hard earned money in this sector, you should take a bit of your time observing certain things that may affect your success or otherwise.
1. Cash inflow
Catfish farming business is a bit capital intensive because of continuous spending involved over a period of months before harvest. Therefore, as a potential investor in this business, irregular or meager salary and projected returns on other investment cannot be depended on because spending continues from day one to harvest. As a form of suggestion, it is better to have at least 80% of whatever capital needed to last you till the end while expecting the remaining 20% from other sources.
2. Water source
Three major things make splendid catfish farming are; water, feed and breed. Of all these three, water is the most important. When starting up your catfish farming business, you must make good water source your number one priority. To me, the definition of good water source is;
- A water source that will not run dry, season in and out
- A source that is not always polluted
- A source that is not flood prone
- And a source that will not involve additional cost before being used
The good water source mentioned here is applicable to any system you may want to run. As you are about to start, make good water source your ultimate consideration.
3. Source of feed
As mentioned earlier, the efficiency of your feed management is as important as good water source. A good and well-developed catfish is a product of breed, feed and good water management. Therefore take your time to locate points where floating feed and raw materials for feed formulation are being sold. The closer the market of these materials to your farm, the more money you save on logistics. Locate your farm in a place that will not be too far from feed market to ensure continuous supply of input. For those who are setting up on either medium or large scale level, I strongly advise you buy directly from the producer of your floating feed. The advantages of buying directly from the producers are numerous; you are sure of saving money on logistic because many of them render free delivery service based on the quantity you buy, you will also get the product at cheaper price by eliminating middlemen and, more so, it will afford you the opportunity to get the right quantity and quality for your farm.
One more thing that medium and large scale investors in catfish farming business must have is feed mill to avoid disappointment by commercial feed millers.
4. Nearness to the market point
Elementary economics defines market as a point where buyers and sellers meet to transact business. In catfish farming business, marketing begins when a farmer who has raised his catfish to maturity makes moves to sell off his product. Many at times, most buyers are not willing to go to certain places due to poor road network or other factors which may include; farms not being located along the market route, unpopular catfish farms, glut etc.
One of the benefits of economy of scale you will enjoy when you locate your farm where catfish farming is popular is free movement of buyers within such community.
Another thing you should think of is the security of your investment. Catfish farming business is like a black market; you might not be able to measure your progress until sales are made. In order to limit the extent of uncertainty in your business, security should be of paramount importance. Think of ways to secure your business from flood, theft, etc. Read more on farm security in my article here.
If you are one of those who love doing business in proxy, catfish farming business is not suitable for you. Your availability means a lot to this business. It will afford you the opportunity to observe and obtain firsthand information on happenings on your farm. The health and general security of fishes on your farm may be at risk if you depend too much on farm attendants.
Do not invest your hard earned money on business that does not interest you because interest on investment will still go back to people who have passion for such business. Before you get started, ask yourself this question: “am I interested?” Your interest will make a way for you and strengthen you towards success.