Thousands of Nigerians who want to startup catfish farming cannot do so due to shortage or lack of capital. As a matter of fact, people with genuine interest in this business are frustrated because of high rate of inflation that reduces the value of their capital season in season out.
Bank loans are not easily accessible for this form of business because of the poor level of monthly turnover unlike other businesses/trades. Also, many young Nigerians who want to be engaged in catfish farming may not be able to secure commercial bank loan due to stringent conditions attached to them. The issue of collateral security, most especially certificate of occupancy, attached to securing commercial bank loan has not helped the situation.
Over the past years, governments at various levels have tried to remove every obstacle in the area of securing finance for agricultural purposes. More so, societies and individuals have come up with strategies and approaches aimed at ensuring capitals are available for those that will use it for intended purposes. This article shall examine various sources of capital available for catfish farmers to access for the development of their catfish farms.
NYSC WAP Programme: The “War Against Poverty” programme was an initiative of Federal Government of Nigeria through NYSC for service corp members. The program was designed to setup service members who are not interested in looking for white collar job but are ready to invest in Agriculture-related ventures. Selected applicants nationwide are trained by seasoned professionals in different areas of agriculture after which each participant receives as much as 250,000 Naira. The amount has been increased to 300,000 Naira in recent times.
I was privileged to benefit from this interest free loan through my wife. She took the loan which was later refunded after three years of intensive usage. To be truthful, the loan brought much stability to my catfish farming business and also helped me to focus on the expansion of my farm. I will recommend this kind of loan to anyone in NYSC or preparing to go for compulsory national service this year. As a matter of fact, there are no jobs anywhere. If you have a business mind and are ready to discipline yourself, NYSC WAP loan is the best for you.
Personal Savings and Grants is by far the most reliable of all sources of finance identified. You do not need to pay interest or meet an unrealistic requirement when you use personal savings or grant from friends and family to start your catfish farm. Many people have saved for this cause. To achieve a target capital projection to startup a catfish farm, set aside part of your income till your target is met. Willingness to startup a catfish farm could also lead you to friends and family who can be of help to fulfill your dream. You can start to put aside certain amount of money. That could be all you need to setup a catfish farm.
Co-operative Society is one of the most dependable credit/finance institutions in Nigeria and other parts of the world. Certain number of people who have similar goals and aspirations gather to setup a form of mutual benefit society where everyone can get loan to tune of 100 percent of their contribution to the society. Apart from credit facilities, members can also benefit from business advice, free consultancy services from seasoned professionals, and access information related to price and market of their products. Also, members can benefit from reduced price of goods and services and access market for goods produced.
Catfish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFAN) is the national society of catfish farmers that protects the interest of practitioners in Nigeria. Apart from this, CAFAN has a cooperative society where member catfish farmers can apply and obtain loan for the purpose of fish production related activities with an interest rate of less than 10 percent per annum. There are hundreds of other catfish farmers’ cooperative societies all over the country. Join one today and gain access to unlimited loan, based on your contributions, to start your business.
Agric Loans: A number of commercial banks in Nigeria have been empowered by the Central Bank of Nigeria to give agric loans to interested farmers. Some of these banks charge interest rate of less than 25 percent, part of which will be refunded by CBN after you must have completed your payment.
Some microfinance banks like LAPO, SEAP and tens of others also give agric loan to interested farmers. A loan of 1 million and below in some of the commercial banks are always without collateral security. Better still, your farm will serve as security for the loan. Recently, the condition for obtaining this loan has been tightening because of high level of non repayment, however if you are truthful and have genuine interest in catfish farming you can approach any of these commercial banks that give agric loan.
Bank of Industry was established to give medium and long term loan for the development of all forms of industrial activities in the country. Smart catfish farmers can also get some capital to set up their feed mills and fish processing factory for their catfish. A number of catfish farmer have approached Bank of Industry (BOI) in recent times with some level of success recorded. The interest rate is always lower than most of the commercial banks. BOI operate single digit interest rate and allows industrialists to pay back in years. For contact information, Banks of Industries are located in state capitals across the country with their head office in Abuja.
Bank of Agriculture works towards helping farmers in both crop and livestock production to access sure low interest loan to boost agricultural production in the country (Nigeria). Year after year, this bank is empowered by CBN through various interventions to increase crop and animal production and also exportation of Agric-based produce to earn foreign exchange. It is lawful for any Nigerian who wants to start or expand any agricultural business e.g. catfish farming, to approach Bank of Agriculture for low interest loan. You can contact any Bank of Agriculture in your state today. They will be glad to welcome you.
Feed Miller Credit Initiative: This form of funding, in kind, is not known to many existing and upcoming catfish farmers. In some parts of the country, especially Ogun state, feed millers encourage farmers with little or no capital to raise their fishes to table size through credit facility in form of making catfish feed available to willing farmers. This system of finance has also been practiced with high level of success rate by cooperative feed mills that give feed to their members/customers on credit and farmers pay back with some kg of table size fish after cropping. You too can approach feed millers closer to you for this kind of facility.
CBN Entrepreneurship Development Programme by CBN Entrepreneurship Development Center is one of the recent efforts by CBN and their partners to train applicants and unemployed youths in various area of entrepreneurship to promote economic growth in Nigeria. This is done by enhancing sustainable employment generation and micro-enterprise development services. It must be noted that Agriculture is given prominence.
The centers are located all over the geo-political zones of the country and Lagos. Strategic objective of the program include creation of enabling environment for practical micro enterprise development service, generation of employment through multiplier effect of entrepreneurial development and strengthening the financial and operational sustainability of job creations. Interest rates on the loans provided through this program is always less than 10 percent. Loans are expected to be repaid within a minimum period of 2 years, after which you can write another proposal for development of your business. You can register for this program in your geo-political center located across the country (Ibadan, Lagos, Calabar, Maiduguri, Makurdi, Kano, and Onitsha). Another remarkable concept about this program is that the recipients of loans are monitored for a minimum period of one year after they must have completed their internship program. This is done to stabilize their businesses.
Other Sources of Capital for Catfish Farmers: YouWIN program of the Federal Government of Nigeria during Goodluck Jonathan’s regime falls under this category. An applicant signifies interest through online application with a well-written business plan on any form of business enterprise e.g. catfish farming. This kind of grant is nondiscriminatory; both registered and unregistered businesses can obtain it. A number of business plans on catfish farming have been approved and rewarded with millions of Naira. SURE-P was another federal government initiative open to various business enterprises.
Federal Ministry of Agriculture also establish empowerment scheme through colleges of Agriculture across the country where participants are given seeds like juveniles and day old chicks as well as feed free of charge. I will also want to encourage you to watch out for one in this present dispensation.
Apart from opportunities from governments, individuals like Tony Elumelu launch a non-governmental organization called TEF to reward genuine entrepreneurs to access interest free loan in form of grants across Africa. I will also like to encourage well-meaning Nigerians to establish and sustain this kind of programs especially in area of agriculture to enhance food production and job creation in the country.