Integrated fish farming is a system of producing fish in combination with other agricultural/livestock farming operations centered on the fish pond. The farming sub-systems e.g. fish, crop and livestock are linked to each other in such a way that the by products/wastes from one sub-system become the valuable inputs to another sub-system and thus ensures total utilisation of land and water resources of the farm, resulting in maximum and diversified farm output with minimum financial and labour costs.
In a proper fish, crop and livestock integrated farming system, the possible inter sub-system interactions are – excreta and waste feed from livestock sub-system acting as manure and feed for fish as well being used as manure for crop land. By-product/wastes of crop can be used as feed, manure for the fish pond and as feed for livestock.
Nigeria is blessed with numerous opportunities for large-scale aquaculture; however the challenges seem to override these opportunities. Constraints to production in the industry have been identified as recurrent high cost fish feed; poor water quality management; poor quality fish seed; technical know-how etc. With the coming of FEEDTECH Co Ltd, maker of HYBRID high quality floating fish feeds produced with up to date state of art factory in Kaduna and regular organisation of farmers’ forum to educate farmers on best farming practice, fish farm has been made easy according to farmers. Mr Tunde Sanni, owner of Tee Ess Farms, now producing smoked fish for the US market, said that fish farming has gone beyond farming at the backyard of houses to a venture that people invest millions of Naira into and make good returns on investment because of hybrid of species supplied to farmers and demand for fish in the International market. The establishment of smoked fish processing for export centres by Nigerian Export Promotion Council has, as well, boosted the fish farming business in Nigeria as many use the centers whose purpose of establishment is to act as referral processing units for private sectors.
Opportunities In Integrated Fish Farming
Construction of ponds/Treatment/Fertilisation: The success or failure of a fish farm starts with the right fish pond construction and that is why it should not be left in the hands of mediocre, otherwise, one may end up spending money on the pond.
It can be: – • Earthen Ponds, Concrete Ponds, Mobile Fish Pond Systems Or Cage And Pen Culture Systems. Treatment and fertilisation for optimal result is important and it needs a specialist to do it.
Hatchery /Fingerling Production: This is production of larval and juvenile fish before they are transferred to on-growing systems i.e. fish farms to reach harvest size. You can make good money doing this aspect of fish farming.
Foodfish Production: Fish farming involves raising fish in tanks or enclosures, usually for food or commercial purpose to sell to end users or drying using cabinet dryer. The most common fish species raised by fish farmers in Nigeria are carp, tilapia, and catfish. Fish farming is an ancient practice that can provide many profitable opportunities today as agriculture has become a business that is developing every day in Nigeria. Fish farming is like most other types of farming, a risky business that requires special knowledge, skills, and careful considerations. The size of fingerling to stock is a critical factor in food fish produced.
Fish marketing/Brokering: you can market fish as a broker. As a broker, you don’t need to have a pond or capital, all you require is information of who wants to sell and who wants to buy. Nigeria is still largely dependent on small-scale fish farmers for domestic supply, which gives room for more players to make good money from the sector; you can sell fish products to restaurants, supermarkets, joints for fresh fish pepper soup, open markets or those into smoked fish export.
Fish processing: Today, many fish farmers farm and dry their products with cabinet dry as way of preserving or selling it as a dry fish for house hold consumption, export, industrial use. A cabinet dryer can dry up to 10 tons of fish a day depending on the capacity and they are locally fabricated.
Vegetables/Plantain etc. Farm: you can integrate vegetables/ plantain farming into your fish farming because the water realised from the pond are not just water alone but manures as well. You can channel it to your vegetable or plantain farm, nothing is waste in today’s Agrobusiness. As you are making money from fish, you are making money from vegetables or plantains as well.
Just like every other business venture, you can finance it from your personal money (#150,000 and above) or agricultural loan from banks, government agencies, relatives and friends. In this case, you can start small and become a big player with time.