Wednesday, 13 May 2015

WHY SOME FISH FARMERS FAIL?






1.  Poor Farm Siting: Such as in a place with inadequate water supply,
poor soils for pond construction (e.g. may be rocky), far away from
markets and/or supplies, etc.
2.  Poor farm and facility design: Ponds not compacted properly, leak a
lot, may be too shallow, and consequently construction and
maintenance costs become too high while optimum yields are not
achieved. Poor accessibility to ponds, requiring workers to walk
across difficult terrain to transfer fish from pond to vehicle or
vice-versa.
3.  Poor Investment Plan: Several farmers assume that to be a
commercial fish farmer one must have several large ponds. Hence,
they construct many ponds at once, which constrains their cash
flow. Because of this, some farmers take a while to start production
or may only afford to start production in one pond after all the
investment.

4.  Start production before knowing what management options are
available or how to farm fish.

5.  Start looking for the market for fish when the fish is ready for
sale. Meanwhile, because they are still feeding, the pond attains its
maximum loading and fish stop growing. The longer the fish stay in
the pond after they have stopped growing, the smaller the profit
margin.

6.  Do not employ the right people. Entrepreneurs use other peoples
time, i.e. employ the right people. Hiring family members who have
little or no desire to learn proper fish farming techniques is a
liability because most people find it difficult to dismiss them even
after it has become apparent that they are the reason for the poor
performance of the fish farm.

7.  Manage farms by remote control or telephone. No direct
involvement in production and management activities of the farm.

8.  Irregular and improper feeding. This ranges from complete lack of
knowledge about the nutritional requirements and feeding of
9.  catfish to attempts at saving money by using cheap feeds. Some
farmers just do not feed their fish because they think fish will
grow as long as they are in water. They do not realize that like all
animals, best performance would be obtained if the fish have a
balanced diet and that the feed needs to be palatable, easily
digestible and does not disintegrate into the water before the fish
can consume it. For the same reasons that the majority of poultry
farmers would not think it wise to feed layers maize bran, a
commercial fish farmer should not believe they can get the best
production results by feeding catfish maize bran only. If one
intends to increase production and profit margins from producing
eggs, then it is well known that the best way would be to feed the
layers with quality layers mash and not growers mash. Likewise, fish
should be fed with the correct feed of the right quality.

10.  Do not appreciate that different management levels have different
requirements which consequently affects stocking rates. As in
cattle, for example, the management requirements and stocking
rates for ranching are different from zero grazing because of the
limits to which the animals reared under the different systems can
get access to adequate feed to cater for their maintenance and
production needs. The same applies in fish farming. Stocking rates
are a function of the specific management regime.

11. Being more impressed with harvesting the few large fish rather
than looking at the overall picture and appreciating total tonnage at
harvest. If you had a sow that ate all its piglets and grew nice and
fat; would you be happy? Or would you rather have several but
smaller animals of a reasonable size for sale rather than one giant?
Survival rates and average fish size matter when raising table-fish,
because profit margins above operational costs generally range
between 10 to 30% depending on one’s market. The net income is
therefore largely a function of turnover.

12.  Do not keep records and do not assess performance to re-adjust
management practices accordingly after each cycle. A farmer is
therefore unable to tell whether a profit or loss will have been
made. Having money in one’s pocket after a sale does not imply one
has made a profit. Some farmers do not want to keep records
because they are scared of facing the harsh realities of a loss.
Unless one is able to face the bitter truth and correct his/her management practices, there won’t be any improvements and the
business will eventually collapse.

13. Hobby farmers who keep fish in ponds forever as though they are
taking care of wild-life in a game park.

14. Wrong objectives for investing in aquaculture. Some do it simply
because their friends are doing it or because they are targeting
‘free’ funds from donors or government. Nothing in this world is
free. Always watch out for the hidden costs before making a final
decision.  Furthermore, pond construction is costly and is not
something one should undertake for the sake of it.  Changing ones
mind and having to fill in ponds because you have changed your mind
is even more costly. Think objectively before you embark on fish
farming. Farm fish as a business; as a source of employment and
income for yourself and others. Invest in fish farming only if you
have identified it as a serious opportunity that can work out into a
successful enterprise.

15. Expand the farm as a solution to low profit and yields. It is a bad
business decision to expand a failing business without first finding
out what the causes of the failure are and correcting them.

16. Buy high quality expensive feed but use the laziest and least
conscientious person on the farm as the feeder. This is like
throwing money down a drain.

17. Believe consultants and newspaper reports that indicate fish
farming requires little investment and results in huge profits. If it
were that easy, everyone would be doing it.  And the so-called
consultants would be busy making money from growing fish; not
from advertising their expensive training programs.
-  Yes a person can grow fish with little investment but there
will be little production in return. You can’t get something
from nothing.


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