Profitable Catfish Farming In Nigeria

Catfish business involves the rearing of catfish for commercial purpose in Nigeria. Catfish farming in Nigeria can be a profitable venture if the processes followed starting from construction, stocking and catfish pond management are well organized.

Catfish has the ability to withstand poor water qualities and breath directly from the atmosphere, this makes the catfish farming an attractive business.

Catfish has fast growth rate and high meat yield.

Catfish farming is a profitable business you can do for profit. You can start on a small scale and grow. With little capita, you can start a successful small scale catfish farming in Nigeria.

Introduction To Catfish Farming In Nigeria

The African catfish (clarias gariepinus) are known to be the fastest growing species in Africa. And you can see this species in rivers, lakes and catfish farms where they are grown and breed.

When it comes to African catfish farming, there are two popular species known as the Clarias Gariepinus and the Clarias Anguillaris. The Clarias Gariepinus is the most suitable specie farmed in Nigeria and other African countries like Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, South Africa, Malawi, Rwanda, Togo, Zimbabwe, etc.

The Claria Gariepinus has common names like African catfish, common fish, sharptooth, mudfish, etc. And Nigeria is the top producer of catfish in Africa.

The African catfish has a dark grey colour and resembles the eel, And it can grow a length of 1 to 115 metres with a maximum weight of 60 kilograms. Catfish has a whitish belly, and like many other catfish species, they feed on dead and living animal’s like maggots, worms, and animal flesh.

The reproduction process of the catfish starts approximately from 8 to 12 months, where they will move deep to lay eggs. The larva of the catfish develops within 72 to 80 hours after fertilization. Note that, it is hard for catfish to reproduce naturally when farmed in ponds, hence artificial propagation is required.

With the population of Nigeria growing bigger, the demand for catfishs is also increasing rapidly. But Nigeria’s catfish farmers are not meeting up with the demand. Despite the market systems bring operate by Nigeria aquaculture industry, The industry still needs potential farmers to fill in the gap to increase more productivity and supplies.

Profitability Of Catfish Farming In Nigeria

Currently, catfish farming in Nigeria has turn out to be a major source of income for several households in Nigeria. Whether the farming procedures are base on small scale or commercial purposes it has made lot of contribution to the country’s economy, thereby increasing the profitability in this farming sector.

The following are some of the reasons why catfish farming is still profitable:

1. There is high demand for catfish, so be ready to fetch good market prices from your catfish.

2. The catfish farming is very attractive and lucrative because it has the fastest growth rate.

3. When manage well, there will always be good profits to be made (Return On Investment).

4. You can start on a small scale and still make profits if you don’t have enough capital for commercial catfish farming.

5. There is a ready market for your catfishs if you can market your business well.

6. Best aquaculture practices help to strengthen the market system therby turning the catfish farmers to extra ordinary millionaires.

Catfish farming will continue to be a lucrative agribusiness, provided that there is space and careful planning.

Feasibility Study On Catfish Farming In Nigeria

This is a rough feasibility study prepared for a catfish farm capacity of 5000 where juvenile catfish will be stocked. When talking about 5000 capacity, The farm will have 5 concrete ponds and each pond will contain 1000 stocked catfish.

Each pond is 3m x 2.5m by 1.4m, each ponds should consist of 220 blocks. Therefore, 220 x 5 = 1,100 blocks. Hence, 30 bags of cement and 3 trips of sand and 1 trip of gravel is needed. You should also estimate the labor cost.

After construction; you should budget for 100 bags of feeds for 5000 stocked catfish starting from day one to maturity stage. This is a little estimate. You are hereby advised to make more research.

If you are starting a catfish farming business you should consider getting a professional catfish farming business plan for your business. A good catfish business plan consists of the following outline:

1. Company’s or Farm Overview: This include the vision, mission, objectives and status of your farm.

2. Catfish Description: Here describes your catfish products.

3. The Market Analysis: This include informations about your competitors, customers, market demands and SWOT analysis.

4. Marketing Strategy: The marketing strategy includes the key to success, target market, pricing strategy, sales strategy and distribution strategy of your catfish products.

5. Financial Analysis: Financial analysis consist of the cost summary, projected cash flow and administrative expenses.

Developing catfish business plan requires professionalism. That is why it requires the services of an expert to get one.

Importance Of Catfish Farming In Nigeria

Here are the importance of farming catfish:

1. Catfish have low fat and high nutritious protein.

2. There is high yields of catfish meat since they can be raised in high density.

3. Catfish farming is very advantageous as it have the ability to survive in poor quality water.

4. It is a profitable venture because it has good return on investment with great profit.

5. The catfish have a good feed conversion ratio.

6. Farming catfish is very important as there is a ready market for.

Steps To Starting A Catfish Farming Business

You can follow the following steps to start a catfish farming business in Nigeria:

1. Construction Of Catfish Pond

Your choice of pond determines the construction and design of the catfish pond. An ideal pond construction should be suitable for good production and good health of your catfish.

There are 3 main types of ponds used in Nigeria which are: the earthen ponds, mobile ponds and concrete ponds.

The Earthern Ponds is natural and it source of water comes from a lake, spring or swamp. It is vert cheap to construct.

Mobile Ponds consist of using tarpulines, plastics, drums, tanks etc. This pond is very easy to establish for beginners. Mobile ponds are suitable for small scale catfish farming.

Concrete Ponds are the best pond for commercial catfish farming. They are stronger and can contain large number of fishes.

2. Good Market Research

When you want to start a catfish business, you don’t just jump into it. At least you take time to understand the market. And contemporary plan and research your strategies before jumping into the business.

A good market research helps you to gather the needed information about the business and the dynamic processes to follow in order to satisfy the market. Market research also provides an insight about your target market, your competitors, challenges and how to tackle them immensely.

3. Stocking Of Catfish

The success of your catfish farm depends on the quality of fingerlings to be be stocked into your pond. That’s why you need to be careful while selecting fingerlings for your catfish farm.

Ensure they are healthy and of good quality. It is advisable to look out for reliable source that are trusted to supply catfish fingerlings which are free from any disease.

In as much that you need quality catfish, Feeding is also another quality work to consider in catfish farming. So ensure to follow the recommended sheduls for feeding and feed them accordingly.

However, there are different varieties of catfish feed in the market, sort for the feeds to maximize faster growth and development.

Here also, are some of the supplements for feeding catfish; fruits like mango and pawpaw, bird feathers, groundnut cake, birds offals, maggots and earthworms, etc.

4. Preventing Catfish Diseases

You have to watch out for any symptom and act very fast before it affect others. Here are some of the diseases of catfish:

i. Fungi: This is usually cause by injuries. Symptoms include sluggishness, whitish spot on the skin or fin. You can prevent this by reducing the stocking density, and separating the catfish according to their stages.

ii. Bacterial: The bacterial infection is caused by poor nutrition and dirty water. Symptoms include swollen eyes or abdomen, red spots. You have to give them quality feeding and ensure that the fish pond water is kept clean.

iii. Disease Caused By Cold Water: This occurs by hatching catfish under severe cold water. Symptoms include mucus on the catfish gills, poor movement. The ideal water temperature for hatching should vary between 24-28 degrees.

iv. Oedema and Vibrosis: This occurs as a result of dirty pond and overcrowding. It often results to poor growth and high mortality rate. To prevent this, you must wash the pond regularly and avoid overcrowding.

5. Harvesting And Marketing

With good management, your catfish should be ready for harvest between 8 to 12 months after stocking. Harvesting and marketing are two most important words in catfish farming. So while making arrangements for harvesting, also be making arrangement for marketing.

Here are some of the tips to consider when preparing for harvest:

1. Early morning harvesting is the best so as early evening harvesting.

2. Avoid direct hot sun light when you harvest your cafish.

3. Drain the pond a little during the period of harvest.

4. It the ponds are too deep, then you can use hoop nets or cast nets for harvesting.

In a nutshell, your catfish marketing strategy should be plan wisely.


There are mainly two types of catfish farming in Nigeria which involves the small scale and commercial scale. The small scale catfish farming in Nigeria entails about starting a catfish farm with little number of fingerlings and this system normally goes with mobile ponds (tarpulines, tanks, plastic and drums).

While on the other hand, commercial catfish farming in Nigeria involves rearing catfish for commercial purposes. And commercial catfish farming has a great impact in the economy of the country.

If you are considering starting a catfish farm in Nigeria just know that the success of your catfish business depends on your planning, healthy fingerlings and good management practices.

Catfish business is a very lucrative agribusiness that you can make serious income from. And to get started, you have to decide the best scale that suits your budget and do a good research.