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How to Start a Tilapia Fish Farming Business in Nigeria

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1; Be Determined
When you intend to set up a tilapia fish farming business in Nigeria; be determined and certain that this is the type of business you want to enter into.
Know that it is not going to be easy because there might be a lot of ups and downs in it. If you are certain about this; when challenges come you won’t have regret when you encounter any challenges.

2; Set Up a Tilapia Business Plan
The major step you should take when trying to set up a tilapia farming business is to first write a business plan.
This business plan should contain your capital, the estimated amount or cost of feed. The amount of money you spent on purchasing the tilapia fish fingerlings.
The amounts of money spent in purchasing or leasing your land or fish pond site and other items.
The advantage of having a business plan is to document your loss or gain in the business and to know when you are missing out.

3; Set Up Your Tilapia Fish Farm & Fish Ponds
Before bringing your tilapia fish fingernails, you need to construct their ponds.
Though some fish farmers do prefer to rear their tilapia fishes in tanks while other prefer to rear them in artificial ponds. Here are major steps you need to carry out on getting a perfect fish farm or pond.
  • Land location; look for a land that is closer to your targeted market for easy transportation of your product after harvesting and also the location of the land should be mobile able for easy movement of feeds or equipment.
  • The Topography of the land; The topography of the proposed site should be generally flat with gentle sloping, which is quite suitable for establishing a commercial tilapia fish farm with minimum financial outlay.
  • Soil factors; (this depends); some farmers prefer concrete floor, some prefer leaving the pond earthly. Just know that the down part of the earth should be clayey in other retain water. But if the site is a sandy loam soil; it still okay.
  • Hydrology of the land; we all know that fishes can’t live without water. So you should know that you should always provide a constant water supply for your fishes. Even if you change the water, you should always refill immediately. Make a suitable source for water, for filling your pond or if possible you should know that boreholes will also be constructed which are expected to provide backup services to the farm especially in the dry season to enable your tilapia fish farm to operate during all season of the years.
  • Vegetation cover or shade; you may consider planting some tree to serve as shade for your tilapia fishes. To enable a normal temperature for fishes.
4; Prepare and Manage Your Tilapia Ponds
 These are the necessary preparation to partake in your farm before bringing in your fishes.
  • Liming; lime is used for purifying water or substance. For your fish pond, you will use it for neutralizing the acid nature of the soil, promote the growth of phytoplankton, wipe out harmful bacteria, settles suspended soil particles in the water and promotes the formation of mineral elements needed for most favorable growth and progress of the tilapia fish.
The Lime is usually broadcasted at the pond bottom at the rate of 450 kg-500 kg per hectare and will be allowed to stay there for about two weeks. As soon as the pond construction is fully accomplished and the water control structures put in place, the ponds will then be limed using the Agricultural Lime or Quicklime.
  • Fertilization; Fertilizer application which could be Organic fertilizer that is made of (Cow dung, Poultry waste, Pig waste etc) or Inorganic fertilizer (NPK, Urea, Superphosphate etc) could be used to fertilize the ponds. These fertilizers that are applied in the ponds one week before stocking and it also aid in speeding up the growth of phytoplankton and zooplankton which are best known to be the natural food for farmed fish.

5; Stock Up Tilapia Fish Fingernails
After preparing your fish pond, it is then time to introduce your tilapia fish into your pond.
The fish will be stock at the rate of 10‐50 fingerlings per square meter for your fish depending on the production system. It is best to introduce the tilapia fish into ponds very early in the morning or late evening especially when the sunshine intensity is very low.
This is to avoid unnecessary stress which might cause high mortality of the fish few days after stocking.

6; Construct Farm Building and Infrastructure
It is recommended that you should construct a residential accommodation at your tilapia fish farm site for the occupation of the workers, who will be available to feed and monitor the fishes.
But if you feel that there will be no need for that, it will equally cost no harm.

7; Feed Your Tilapia Fish;
The feed has to be supplemented with specialized formulated and compounded fish feed to accelerate the growth of fish at their upper limit capability.  The fish should be fed twice daily with their feed at the rate of 5% body weight.
You can produce your own fish feed if you wish, all you need is a feed mill unit comprising a hammer mill, mixer, dryer and pelletizer which is  capable of producing 5 tons of feed per hour will be installed to produce the much-needed fish feed required on the farm. You can also sell your feed to other fish farmers who might be interested in buying. This also can add as an addiction increase in your profit.
Selecting Tilapia Fish Species for Your Tilapia Fish Farming
There are four types of tilapia fish. They are;
  • The Wami Tilapia (Oreochromis Urolepis Hornorum); is an African cichlid native to Uganda and Tanzania. This fish can also be found on Zanzibar but yet, it still remains unclear whether this is an introduced population or not.
  • Mozambique Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus); this fish is a native to Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. In South Africa, its variety is limited to the Eastern Cape Province and KwaZulu-Natal. The fish lives in the Lower Zambezi River and the Lower Shire River as well as on the coastal plains from the Zambezi delta to Algoa Bay.
  • Blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus); it is also known as Israeli tilapia. The Blue tilapia fish is a native to Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Senegal in tropical and subtropical African and the Middle East.
  • The Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus); This is an African cichlid native to Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, and Uganda.
Factors you should consider before purchasing a species; these are factors which we should consider before purchasing our species. When putting these factors into consideration, your profit will increase. Choose fish species which;
  • Has faster growth rate.
  • Has the Adaptability to the environment.
  • That has hardy and can tolerate adverse environmental variations.
  • That has the efficient converter and utilization of both natural and artificial fish feed. (That is, been able to feed on but local/ natural and artificial feeds).
  • Endowed with high nutritive values.
  • Popular and Acceptable to the local community or market where it will be sold, has a high market price and also has a high demand in the market.
  • Has high Resistance to diseases.
Note; Of all the species of tilapia fish, the Blue tilapia fish and the Nile tilapia fish are best known to be the best species because of their high growth rate.
Hatching / Breeding Tilapia Fingernails
(Though this is optional) in other to increase your profit and reducing cost price for buying  new fingerlings, you can establish a breeding system for  your tilapia fish. Know that Tilapia fish can produce an average of 100-150 fingerlings in a week if properly cared for)
When breeding, you should keep in mind that you must control over-population. And also try as much as possible to always separate the fingerlings from the breeders. The fingerlings should be kept in a roomy pond to allow them enough space for a successful growth.
To increase profit, you can also sell your finger to other fishermen who have an interest in it.
 Water Management on Your Tilapia Fish Farm
You should regularly and frequently monitor the water in your pond.
Water quality with the factor such as dissolved oxygen, acidity, carbon dioxide, iron, carbonates, nitrates, nitrite, ammonia, sulphide, Chloride, temperature, alkalinity, total hardness, turbidity, and conductivity have to be monitored appropriately to ensure that they are kept at most favorable levels.
 Growth of Your Tilapia Fish

After following the above steps; after stocking and feeding your tilapia fish with good fish feed and management care, it will grow and mature for a period of 110 days.
Then you can sell your tilapia fish. Or, if you don’t want to reach the 110 days because you have a preferable size you want your fish to be, then you can sell it.
Harvesting Your Tilapia Fish
You can harvest  your fish by reducing the water level in a lower quantity or draining the water level in the pond completely this can be done  by the attendants or by yourself  and it  can be done by moving through with a dragnet to collect all the fish.
 Marketing Your Tilapia Fish in Nigeria
It will be better if you get buyers ready before draining or your fishes to avoid them from dying. Get buyers ready and know the market price to avoid loss.

Recommended;
You should know that Tilapia fishes can be affected by bacterial or viral diseases if adequate care is not given to it. So you must take a down to business measure cares to protect your pond from such occurrence. This can be done by cleaning your pond regularly, preventing overcrowding, and screening your pond often for risk factors or symptoms.
Tilapia farming business in Nigeria could be a lucrative business with low cost which one can indulge into and also have time for other business.
We wish you best.
https://www.africabusinessclassroom.com/category/agriculture-business/page/2