Fish farming in Nigeria is currently a very lucrative business benefiting from the rich natural resources, and it is mainly boosted by the continuous rise in the demand for catfish. Despite the popularity of catfish farming in Nigeria, the fish farming industry can best be described as being at the infant stage when compared to the large market potential for its production and marketing.
However, Nigeria’s limited technical fishing environment and poor farming conditions put the country at a slow development for the production of a wide range of fishes. Availability of high quality fish feed is one of the greatest problems that affects the expansion of the small scale fish industries in Nigeria.
Traditionally Locally available raw materials such as yam, plantain, cowpeas, cassava, millet, sunlamp seed and brewery wastes are considered as potential materials for fish feed. These have been examined on their minimum protein contributions since this is the most expensive part of the fish feed. Due to some kinds of technical flaws such as bad palatability and poor floating, fish feed pellets sink to the bottom immediately before eaten thus leading to waste of material and low nutrition intake.
High quality imported feed floats, while inferior feeds usually sink. Although floating fish feed is not a requirement for good fish production, feed ingredients that are finely ground and properly cooked will make for better fish conversion ratios. Most of floating fish feeds are imported and high costed because of lacking of local production of high quality animal feed.
Actually it’s possible to make high quality fish feed locally once make full use of local raw material. Pellet feed can be produced on a small scale or commercial basis from the locally available raw materials and the fish farmer is advised to seek assistance from qualified fisheries personnel.
Alternative sources to animal proteins have already examined. Plant protein from groundnut, melon, mucuna and others compare favorably with blood meal mixture and thus can be used to replace the more expensive animal proteins. Using cassava to supplement fish feed will reduce the high and fluctuating cost of fish feed production.
Local production of high quality floating fish feed using local ingredients has to be encouraged . Also, the use of extruded floating fish feed comes with a host of advantages in terms of digestion, growth, water protection, zero water pollution, optimized labor usage and zero wastage of raw materials.
With more advanced fish feed pellet machine, it will result in a blooming prospect in fish farming in Nigeria.