It is safe to say that more and more people venture into fisheries to partake of the immense potentials of fish farming and allied businesses in recent times. This could be largely due to the fact that there exists a huge gap between demand and supply of fish and fish products, especially in Africa.
FAO recommends that a third (1/3) of man’s daily protein intake should be of animal origin. As it stands, Africa is said to be meeting only about 33% of her required daily animal protein, 18% of which fish accounts for.
In Nigeria for instance, a whooping 2.2 million metric tonnes demand gap exists between the nation’s 3.32 million metric tonnes annual fish demand, and the about 1.12 million metric tonnes it is able to produce domestically. Such is according to a 2016 Nigeria Fisheries Statistics report.
Little wonder that Nigeria has to import over 2 million tonnes of fish annually.
This translates to over 1.5 billion dollars traded on fish importation yearly.
This much deficit in fish supply in Nigeria, and by extension Africa, constitutes a world of opportunities that local production can be used to exploit.
The aforementioned provide explanation to the teeming influx of entrants into the fisheries industry, as is happening in recent times. It becomes obvious that the fisheries industry is one in which the opportunities are endless.
However, players in this industry have also had challenges to grapple with. The following are some of the limiting factors to profitable fisheries businesses, with corresponding corrective recommendations.
High cost of fish feeds, which are the major cost determinant in most fish farming businesses
This can be made less of a problem by strategically harnessing the different life stages of fish to take advantage of feed conversion efficiency. Skillful feed formulation efforts can also be used to reduce costs by taking advantage of ingredients with relative abundance per season or location.
Experts know how to work around this to achieve desired results beyond what this article can summarize. It is wise to consult one. Piscine Paces Aqua Resources in Abuja, Nigeria is only a dial away. It would be our delight to provide you technical support.
Trivialization (on the part of beginner farmers) of the technicalities involved in farming fish profitably
As as postscript to this point; it is always wise to seek technical supervision from experts prior to venturing into businesses outside one’s specialty. Fisheries businesses are no exception – even if it comes at a monetary price.
Many times, investors have lost multiples of the average consultation fee when they opt for the trial and error alternative to appropriate consultancy.
Sometime, elaborate business plans / feasibility reports are seen as too ambiguous by intending small scale fish farmers.
It must be realized that the overwhelming impulse, optimism and spontaneity that wells up when new things are being conceived can be dashed when eventually they do not yield the anticipated results.
Part of deliberately making effort to have good results is proper planning from the start. A simple one or two paged outline of activities, projected costs and revenue can go a long way to reveal necessary improvements against shocking losses.
This few paged outline can completely replace an elaborate business plan for very small businesses. And yes, even that backyard small tank of yours, housing a few hundreds of fish is a business. Proper planning can make it profitable and grow.
Stocking of fish seed (fingerlings and juveniles) with poor growth potentials
Many fish farmers have found themselves wasting feeds on fish stock with no corresponding increase in fish weight or size. It is important to emphasize that every unit kilogram of balanced feed given to a fish stock counts.
A notable fraction of every kilogram of feed given to fish, reflects in its direct weight gain. With very good quality feed, this fraction could be as high as 100% at certain life stages of fish. More on feed conversion in another article.
Farmers have had to deal with stunted growing fish when they procure fish seeds from hatcheries with poor genetic selection and combination practices. Fish that have been starved for too long may also lose potentials for full growth.
It is recommended that farmers get fish seed from trusted and traceable sources to avoid being victims. Piscine Paces Aqua Resources avails you great quality seed input to your fisheries businesses.
Poor flexibility along the fisheries value chain
Fisheries business does not always have to be actual fish farming in spite of the numerous potentials of fish farming in itself. A wide variety of opportunities abound along the fisheries value chain.
Fish and fish products marketing, fish processing, fish feed formulation & production, fish hatching, ornamental fisheries, fish meal production etc. are some of the areas in which the industry’s players can specialize.
Each of these areas avail entrants a whole world of opportunities for business. Persons deficient in one area may find themselves able to soar at specializing in another.
There you go readers – Potentials of Fish Farming and Allied Businesses in Africa.
Get in touch with PiPAR for technical support as you plan to start or expand your fisheries business.