How Profitable is Catfish Farming in Ghana – 2024

Catfish farming is trending in Ghana, but before you dive deep into it, how profitable is catfish farming in Ghana? What are the real-world figures? can you truly make good money in catfish farming in Ghana? These and many other important topics are considered in detail in this article.

Catfish farm

Catfish farming is the practice of raising catfish for commercial purposes. Catfish are a type of fish that are commonly farmed in many parts of the world, including the United States, China, and Nigeria but have begun to gain popularity amongst Ghanaian fish farmers, our goal today is to determine how profitable catfish farming is in Ghana to help you make informed decisions with real-world figures.

How profitable is catfish farming in Ghana? the short answer is that Catfish farming is profitable in Ghana under the right farming methods, but not so profitable if you base your entire production on commercially available catfish feeds in Ghana.

The long answer is that there are things a farmer can do to improve the odds, but generally speaking, if you are going to rely on commercial fish feed for your production, your catfish farm could suffer catastrophic losses.

The interest in catfish farming in Ghana is often driven by unrealistic profit projections, however, these projections are often given by fingerling producers who are often enticing new farmers into buying rather expensive catfish fingerlings when compared to tilapia fingerlings, and other non-market participants who base their calculations on theory.

In the real world of catfish production, you can stock 10,000 fingerlings and end up harvesting just about 6,000 due to mortality as a result of the carnivorous nature of catfish.

Our goal here isn’t to scare you at all, but rather bring to bare the existing challenges that are predominant in catfish production in Ghana, and more importantly, help you overcome any such challenges and become a profitable catfish farmer in Ghana.

Famerlio produces catfish on a large scale in Ghana, thus we have real-world experience to address these growing arguments of the profit margins of catfish production in Ghana, or better put how profitable is catfish production in Ghana.

One might argue if it is not so profitable, how then are we producing it in large quantities at famerlio? Our goal isn’t to scare you, believe me, but rather to bring to bear the realities of catfish production in Ghana.

Better information would save you years of agonies, many farms are folding up, after enthusiastically pumping huge capital into commercial fish feeds, hoping to make some good profit margins in their catfish production only for that hope to be dashed.

Nothing hurts more than unrealized expectations! Believe me, we’ve been there, and it hurts, knowing that and associating with that pain, we are better informed.

Why do we say catfish production in Ghana is not so profitable? Here are the bare facts, and they bother on these 3 factors.

  • Feed weight to catfish body weight conversion ratios
  • Price of feed
  • The wholesale price of catfish in Ghana
Is Catfish farming in Ghana Profitable

How Profitable is Catfish Farming in Ghana – Discussion from the Fish Feed Quality Perspective

Like every business, profit is key to survival, yet hardly discussed, we believe that how the question, Is Catfish farming in Ghana profitable? is one of the first few questions anyone interested in catfish farming should ask before embarking on catfish production.

Without real-world experience though, most of the answers you get might not be true, this is why this article on how profitable is Catfish farming in Ghana is crucial to most new farmers or any farmer who hopes to make good profits producing catfish in Ghana. Let’s dive in!

Feed weight to fish body weight conversion ratio plays a critical role in how much profit you can make as a farmer. In simple terms, it is what weight of feed your fish consumes to gain 1 kg body weight.

For some commercial catfish feed products in Ghana, that ratio can be as high as 1.5kg of feed to 1kg of weight.

This conversion ratio is often disputed but in our real-world use case, we have truly experienced these ratios, even the best fish feed in the market today, has provided us with 1.2kg to 1 kg live body weight.

Using even the best ratios means that for every 1kg of live catfish, you produce in Ghana, you require at least 1.2kg of feed, keep this in mind as we proceed.

As with every business that has to do with production, the cost of production is crucial to your profit margins. You need to know how much you are spending on each item, in order to properly determine the profit margins.

How Profitable is Catfish Farming in Ghana – Price of Catfish Feed.

Please keep in mind from the discussion above on the profit margins of catfish farming in Ghana, the fish feed weight to fish body weight conversion in Ghana realistically is 1.2kg to 1kg fish body weight, this means that for each 1 kg of fish you produce, you would spend realistically a minimum of 1.2kg of fish feed.

The price of catfish feed in Ghana continues to affect farmers’ profit margins, when we first wrote this article, how profitable is Catfish farming in Ghana, the price of catfish feed was around 237 cedis, today it is 345 cedis.

The price of catfish feed continues to rise in Ghana, thus we would use the price at the time of writing this article to give you a fair idea, however, if the price of feed changes, you can always use our catfish farming profitability calculator to aid your estimates.

The current price of 2 mm catfish feed in Ghana is 400 cedis, but usually, in catfish production, we use only a few of these, as the fish eat less when young and exponentially more when they grow, thus using this would be a huge mistake.

We use 4.5 mm catfish feed which cost 345 cedis at the time of press as an estimate because as a catfish farmer, you would use more of this than the 2 mm feeds.

Unlike poultry feed, catfish feed in Ghana comes in 15kg bags, this means that for 345 cedis, you get 15kg worth of feed, this cost excluding the cost of transportation to your site.

Even using the 345 as a basis for our calculation, 345/15 equals 23 cedis, this means that every 1kg of fish feed cost 23 Ghana cedis.

Remember from our discussion above, you require 1.2kg to produce 1kg fish body weight, so for every 1kg of fish you produce in Ghana, at current feed prices, you would spend 1.2 x 23 = 27.6 Ghana cedis on feed alone.

How Profitable is Catfish Farming in Ghana – The Whole Sale Selling Price of Catfish.

Profit is a function of production cost and selling price, without these two, any discussion on how profitable is Catfish farming in Ghana wouldn’t be complete.

So far we have established the following;

  • The weight of the feed you need to produce 1kg of catfish in Ghana is at best 1.2kg of fish feed.
  • For the selling price of catfish feed of 345 cedis for 4 mm, 1kg catfish feed cost 23 cedis, thus 1.2kg fish feed equals 27.6 cedis

At this stage of the discussion on how profitable is catfish farming in Ghana, we take a look at the wholesale selling price of 1kg worth of catfish in Ghana.

At best, a catfish farmer selling to the point and kills in Ghana would sell 1kg of catfish for 30 cedis at current market conditions, a far cry from the 150 cedis the point and kills sell these same catfish to the customers.

Retail prices between middlemen and the “point and kills” are around 40 cedis, but the farmer does not get these prices unless they want to establish retail centers in major cities in Ghana like Accra or Kumasi.

This suggests that you would spend 27.6 cedis on feeding alone, excluding the cost of transporting such, the cost of fingerlings, salaries, and other overhead costs, and yet haggle with the middleman for even a wholesale selling price of 30 cedis.

These calculations are not based on theories, this is real-world experience, that we hope you can benefit from and avoid the costly mistakes we have made in the past.

If you are looking to just purchase feed for your catfish production, to make some profits in 5 or 6 months, you are in for a huge shock, because the calculations above do not include the mortality rate.

Catfish are carnivorous in nature, and even the best farmers amongst us, experience a minimum mortality rate of 10%, once you add that to the maths, you do realize that this business of catfish production is a huge loss.

Despite these, we are still producing and making some good profit margins, how do we do it? relax, I am not here to sell you a course, indeed, our course on catfish farming in Ghana is even free for your use. Our goal isn’t to extract money from you but to share tips we have used to survive in a rather harsh business condition, stick with us to learn how to turn your catfish farm from a loss maker to a profitable business venture.

Below is a profit estimation of a catfish farm in Ghana with 1000 fingerlings

Is Catfish Farming Profitable in Ghana?

Below is the real-world profitability of a Catfish farm with 1000 fingerlings used as estimates.

  • Fingerlings Stocked : 1000
  • Expected mortality: 10%
  • Cost of feed per bag: 345
  • Weight of feed in kg per bag:15kg
  • Current wholesale price per kg of catfish: 30

Simply plug this data into the catfish farming profitability calculator to have your estimates.

The following results are obtained:

how profitable is catfish farming in Ghana
how profitable is catfish farming in Ghana

Since the price of feed continues to rise, you can always check on the calculator to answer the question of how profitable is Catfish farming in Ghana, at any given time.

The price of catfish feed in Ghana keeps rising, however, the cost of catfish doesn’t seem to rise proportionally to it, thus, it might make sense to check back frequently on the catfish farming profitability calculator to see new and current profit margins for your catfish farming business.

After 6 months of hard work, feeding and caring for your catfish, you notice that truly, there is very little profit in catfish farming in Ghana, indeed it’s a loss, and this loss is far above3 the 21.74% stated above if you add the cost of fingerlings and other running cost to it but do not be discouraged just yet. There is a way out!

How to Make Good Profits as a Catfish Farmer in Ghana

On the topic of how profitable is Catfish farming in Ghana, we have already established that depending on commercial catfish feed, and the current local market prices for fish, catfish farming in Ghana isn’t profitable, but leaving it there might not be fair, because regardless of the market conditions, we are making good profits as catfish farmers in Ghana, so how do we do it? let’s learn more.

There are several factors that are making catfish farming in Ghana unprofitable, some of which we have discussed above, however, there are ways you can improve your profit margins and make some good money, at Farmelio, we produce catfish at a large scale in Ghana, here are a few things we did to make good money with catfish.

  1. We drastically cut down the cost of feed: Notice that over 80% of the cost of producing catfish is feeding cost. You can drastically reduce that cost by over 50% to increase your profit margins. We utilized naturally available feed like duckweeds and maggots to drastically cut down our cost of production.
  2. Reduce your mortality rate; Catfish are carnivorous in nature, and they would eat each other if you do not take the appropriate measures. There are a few things you can do to improve your mortality rate in your catfish production business. Let me be honest with you, if you ignore these tips that help reduce your mortality rate, you could easily record mortality rates upwards of 50%.
  3. Process your fish; If you only produce fresh catfish for sale, the prices paid by middlemen are not encouraging, and could easily cause you to make losses. However, if you can smoke your own catfish, you could very well double your revenues and drastically improve your profit margins. While smoking catfish is recommended, it is crucial you understand that for some strange reasons, smoked catfish sells cheaper than live catfish in the local Ghanaian market, thus your target market should be export, which leads us to our next point.
  4. Get a better market; If you can cut down the middlemen, that would be great. For instance, the same catfish sold at wholesale for 30 cedis at current market prices, are being sold at the point and kills for 100 cedis and above. It is thus safe to say, the real profit makers are those who add additional value to the catfish.
  5. Export your products, it’s funny how the market and middlemen prey on the vulnerability of farmers in Ghana, in the hard cold universe we live in, I wouldn’t expect any less of them anyway, however, I sincerely believe that the current market conditions in Ghana are anti-growth and will only lead to the collapse of the industry if care isn’t taken. The good news is that you could simply source for markets in Europe and the Americas that consume catfish in huge quantities and easily get close to $10 per 1 kg of catfish.

Having done the above, you could easily reach 50% profit margins in your catfish production business.

These are hard facts, do not be deceived, the figures we have given you above are real-world experiences we have had on our catfish farms.

The market for catfish and other seafood products in Ghana.

The market for catfish and other seafood products is the network of buyers and sellers who trade in these products. The market is influenced by a number of factors, such as the availability of fish from wild sources, the level of domestic production, the demand for fish from consumers, and the general purchasing power of the population.

The market price for catfish and other seafood products can fluctuate depending on changes in supply and demand, the state of the economy, and the actions of other market participants. Some of the main players in the market for catfish and other seafood products in Ghana include:

  1. Fish farmers: These are the primary producers of fish and other seafood products. They raise catfish and sell them to processors, distributors, or retailers.
  2. Point and Kill restaurants: These are restaurants that add value to catfish in their outfits, point and kills generally keep live fish in transparent tanks and offer their customers the ability to point out which fish they want to eat, hence their names.
  3. Distributors: These are companies and individuals that buy catfish and other seafood products from processors and sell them to retailers. They may also provide logistics services, such as storage and transportation, to other market participants.
  4. Retailers: These are companies that sell catfish and other seafood products directly to consumers. They buy fish and other seafood products from distributors or directly from producers and sell them in supermarkets, fish markets, or other retail outlets.
  5. Consumers: These are the individuals and households who buy and consume catfish and other seafood products. They are the final link in the market chain, and their demand for fish and other seafood products drives the market.

The role of government policies and support programs in promoting catfish farming.

Government policies and support programs can play an important role in promoting catfish farming and supporting the growth of the industry.

These policies and programs can help to address some of the challenges and challenges facing the industry, such as disease outbreaks, market fluctuations, and environmental concerns.

Some examples of Ghana government policies and support programs that can promote catfish farming include:

  1. Research and development: In partnership with the Norwegian government, The government of Ghana is developing a fish for development framework that would support fish farmers to make good economic gains.
  2. Extension services: The government of Ghana through its ministry of fish and aquaculture development is providing extension support to catfish farmers across the country. As a farmer, you can get training and even purchase fingerlings from the ministry at a cheaper price.
  3. Infrastructure: Governments can invest in infrastructures, such as roads, ports, and storage facilities, to support the growth of the catfish farming industry. This can help to improve the connectivity and competitiveness of the industry and make it easier for farmers to access markets and inputs.
  4. Financial support: Governments can provide financial support to catfish farmers, such as subsidies, grants, and loans, to help them invest in their operations and expand their businesses. This can help to reduce the financial risks of catfish farming and encourage more farmers to enter the industry. Currently, the government of Ghana has the YouStart project that fish farmers can benefit from.
  5. Regulation and oversight: The government of Ghana has implemented several regulations and oversight mechanisms to ensure the safety and sustainability of the catfish farming industry. However, more is expected to ensure the sustainability of Catfish farming in Ghana.

Case studies of successful catfish farming operations in Ghana.

Some characteristics of successful catfish farming operations include:

  1. Strong management: Successful catfish farming operations are typically well-managed, with clear goals and strategies, effective management systems, and competent staff.
  2. Efficient production: Successful catfish farming operations are typically efficient in their use of inputs, such as feed and water, and are able to produce high-quality fish at a low cost.
  3. Flexible marketing: Successful catfish farming operations are typically able to adapt to changes in the market and find profitable outlets for their fish. This may involve diversifying the product range, developing new markets, or using innovative marketing strategies.
  4. Sustainability: Successful catfish farming operations are typically environmentally sustainable, using practices that minimize waste and pollution, and protect natural resources.
  5. Strong financial performance: Successful catfish farming operations are typically profitable, with revenues that exceed costs and generate a positive return on investment.

In Ghana, there we at Famerlio are doing awesome jobs at producing catfish at good profit margins and meeting local demands, beside us, we have other awesome companies producing catfish and serving the country.

Here are a few of them listed on Farm Dreams:

  1. Swaps Farms Ltd, Akim Soabe
  2. Alphacross Farms 
  3. Flodavik Ghana Limited
  4. School Farm Accra
  5. Akate Farms & Trading Company Ltd
  6. Tropo Farms
  7. Shore Fresh Limited

The challenges facing the catfish farming industry in Ghana, and how they can be addressed.

The catfish farming industry in Ghana faces a number of challenges that can affect the viability and sustainability of individual farms and the industry as a whole. Some of the potential challenges and challenges facing the catfish farming industry include:

  1. Disease outbreaks: Catfish farming operations can be vulnerable to disease outbreaks, which can cause significant losses for farmers and harm the health of farmed fish. To address this challenge, farmers can implement biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases and use medication and vaccination to treat and prevent disease.
  2. Fluctuating market prices: The market price for catfish and other seafood products can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, such as changes in supply and demand, the state of the economy, and the actions of other market participants. To address this challenge, farmers can use price hedging and other financial instruments to protect themselves against market volatility and diversify their product range and market outlets to reduce their dependence on any one market.
  3. Environmental concerns: Catfish farming operations can have an impact on the environment, such as through the use of natural resources like water and land, and the potential for pollution. To address this challenge, farmers can implement environmentally sustainable practices, such as using closed-loop systems, reducing waste, and protecting natural habitats.
  4. Competition from other sources of protein: The catfish farming industry faces competition from other sources of protein, such as plant-based and lab-grown alternatives to fish. To address this challenge, farmers can focus on producing high-quality, sustainable fish products that are attractive to consumers, and promote the nutritional and environmental benefits of consuming fish.
  5. Regulation and oversight: Catfish farming operations are subject to government regulations and oversight, which can affect the cost and feasibility of their operations. To address this challenge, farmers can work with government agencies and industry organizations to ensure that regulations are fair and reasonable and that they support the growth and sustainability of the catfish farming industry.
  6. Extreme high cost of feed: The cost of catfish feed in Ghana is excruciatingly expensive. There is absolutely no way a farmer can make profits in Ghana by simply depending on commercially available feed. This rising cost of fish feed is causing many farmers to shut down operations as it is simply not sustainable, but if you follow the tips above, you can make some really good money.

Are you into catfish farming? tell us about your experience in the comment section below!

Update (30/3/2023); Current Price of Catfish Feed has dropped to 234 Ghana cedis for 4mm size fish feeds. Use the catfish farming profitability calculator to determine your profit margins in Catfish production.


4 responses to “How Profitable is Catfish Farming in Ghana – 2024”

  1. Good article Felix! You perfectly highlighted my experience when I began! Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

    1. Happy to Help Simon!

  2. great input here, thank you for the insight.

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