Getting good ponds is a serious issue that must be approached with caution — and this applies whether you lease or outright purchase your ponds. This is due to the fact that most pond owners sell or lease out their ponds for reasons mostly beyond their control. Nobody will sell or lease out a performing asset except in a very rare situation. Therefore, think twice before you buy or lease ponds.
Most farm owners give out their ponds due to consistent losses they have incurred while using the ponds. Some of these losses were caused by failure to secure the farm from theft, flood, poor management or environmental related issues. Only a few offer their pond for sales or lease for reason like better business opportunity, relocation, acquisition of better or bigger properties, etc. In this article, I will like to introduce us to certain essential features to look out for in ponds, that must be observed before you rent or lease a catfish farm.
- Size is an important factor to consider before you rent or buy a pond. Many have been deceived in the past about pond size and the number of fishes it can take. I tell you, a pond can take more than 100 percent of its carriage capacity at the early stage, but what matters is what becomes of the stock when your fishes start to grow. The size of a pond must justify its cost. Also you must observe whether a pond can be expanded to suit your need or not. There is no point buying or leasing ponds that will not serve your purpose. Beware! Many are now buying land with the purpose of digging ponds (standard or substandard) to lease out to innocent farmers. In fact, it pays to construct pond for lease than to build blocks of flats in some part of Nigeria.
- Depth of a pond determines to a large extent how big your fishes will be. I always recommended a minimum of three feet pond water for optimal performance. The dipper the better (up to six feet). Before you rent a pond, you must consider the possibilities of digging it for more depth if need be. The cost of reaching more depth in some ponds is more than the cost buying the pond outright.
- Water source to a pond defines the flexibility of such pond in terms of output. What source of water serves the pond (groundwater, stream, river, Lake, etc)? How dependable is the water source in terms of quality, quantity and frequency? You can only maximize the output of a pond when water is sure all year round.
- Inlet and Outlet controls how water enter and flow out a pond. If the pond you are about to get does not have either an inlet or outlet, or both, what is the possibility of fixing them? Some earthen ponds cannot have a direct inlet from the stream due to farm topography. Get prepared for increased cost of production if you are renting such ponds. I have also observed in the past the negative works of crabs on earthen ponds constructed upstream. They have a way of making holes in the ponds. Such holes drain pond water no matter how hard you try to stop them. Check the water level before you buy or lease an abandoned pond. Please endeavor to find out why the water level is low in such pond.
- Drainage Systems around a pond has a lot to do with flood control. It is never a waste of time tracing your drainage system to the nearest bridge. Most of the floods I have experienced in my farm have been the result of a blocked bridge around the farm. How effective is the drainage systems during heavy rainfall? Does the closest bridge easily block solid particles? These and more questions will help you to make the right decision. Please never rent a pond you know nothing about in wet season.
- Pond history can help you make the right decision when looking for ponds to buy or lease. You might need to know the flood history, performance and security history of such pond. Make sure you investigate from people around such environment. Don’t rush to buy the wrong farm property.
- Soil type of a pond determines its water retention ability especially when groundwater is low. Also, a pond located in sandy soil will sooner or later need inner bagging and other maintenance to strengthen the pond from total collapse. Please note that this comes with an additional cost.
- Adjoining environment has to do with the activities around the pond you have in mind. Is your pond isolated? Get ready to spend more on security. Is there any industrial activity upstream? You may have problem with water quality. You will spend more on social responsibility if you find yourself in a hostile environment.
- Existing interest on the pond you intend to buy or lease will help you know about legal issues on the land on which such ponds are located. A leaseholder is not expected to sublet or transfer part of his interest on the land without the consent of the owner. Find out the ownership status of the land before you give your money.
You will only get the right result if you have the right pond. Ensure you don’t rush to get a pond, find time to investigate. It is not how far but how well.