How to Sell Your Catfish to Maximize Profit | Marywil Farms

How to Sell Your Catfish to Maximize Profit

how to sell catfish

Catfish farming has received much attention as it has become a source of livelihood for many families. The difficulty in the ways and how to sell the catfish without losing money still burdens new farmers.

The marketing aspect seems to be one major challenge new farmers are faced with. Many believe that catfish will sell anyway since there are never enough of them in the market.

Yes, globally that’s correct.

Nigeria still imports different kinds of fish as we speak. That notwithstanding, imported fish cannot replace locally cultured catfish. Nigerians eat seafood, shrimp, tilapia, fish products such as Titus, and other canned fish products.

To succeed in fish farming requires adequate planning and an innovative approach to the market. Let’s see ways you can sell off your catfish when they are ready for the market.

How to sell your catfish for profit

Many ways lead to the market but following the right one makes the journey easier. We will discuss only three ways here just for you to have an idea.

1. Wholesale buyers

Wholesale buyers in this context are individuals who purchase farm produce in bulk at a reduced and reasonable price. They buy off all you have produced, fix their price, and then sell to retailers to make additional profit.

These individuals could be called off-takers. They are high-volume buyers who buy all your fish at once.

For large-scale catfish farmers, is wise you work with reasonable ones whose target is not to shortchange you. That way they help to distribute the fish to markets.

Wholesalers clear off all your table-sized fish, transport them as far as a full day’s journey, take care of the logistics, and take care of collecting the money from customers, mostly retailers, who sell fish too.

One of the downsides of dealing with wholesalers is that the price you get for your catfish is controlled by them. Since prices are mostly controlled by them, it becomes difficult for a small-scale farmer as such farmers make less profit.

Selling to them becomes discouraging since your cost price is relatively high because you don’t farm at the ideal economic scale.

2. Niche Market

As a small-scale farmer, you should look at markets that are smaller and closer to your farm: these are called niche markets.

This way, you‘ll become a marketer and in some cases even a retailer, alongside being a fish farmer. You could sell to families, bear parlors, restaurants, hotels, eateries, street markets etc.

Though the niche market approach takes time to analyze or develop you have more control over your price provided is reasonable and affordable.

The advantage of this approach is that you make more money as a small-scale fish farmer unlike when you sell at wholesale price.

3. Target Size

Another advisable way of selling is by top cropping. Top cropping means grading the big fish out and leaving the smaller fish in the pond.

The advantage of this approach is that you start to sell the Catfish earlier and initially your cash flow will increase.

However, at a later stage, it will be detrimental, because the smaller fish that are left in the pond, will not grow bigger because of the disturbance of the top cropping activity in the pond. Neither do you make optimal use of the pond space.

Always sell according to your planning and let the target size be the average size of the fish in the pond. If the market is strong, you will be tempted to oversell.

Stick to your growth cycle and the size of fish you want to sell. On the other hand, keeping the fish in the pond because the price is not favorable to you, can become very expensive, since the fish have to be maintained in the pond and consume feed, while they don’t grow rapidly anymore.

Sometimes you have to reduce the price to keep the standing stock constant and the production going.

Factor Responsible for Low Patronage in Catfish Farms

There can be several factors contributing to low patronage in catfish farms. Here are a few possibilities:

1. Quality of Fish: If the quality of the catfish produced is not up to standard in terms of size, taste, or freshness, it can deter customers from returning.

2. Price: High prices compared to competitors or other sources of catfish can lead to reduced patronage.

3. Marketing and Visibility: Lack of effective marketing strategies or poor visibility in the market can result in low awareness among potential customers.

4. Location: Farms situated in areas with low population density or limited access to markets may struggle to attract customers. This is why you should get your product to your customer at all costs.

5. Product Diversity: Offering only a limited range of catfish products or not catering to specific customer preferences can limit patronage.

6. Customer Service: Poor customer service, including issues with orders, delivery, or communication, can drive customers away.

7. Competition: Intense competition from other catfish farms or alternative sources of fish can impact patronage.

Reasons Catfish Farmers Do Not Succeed in Selling Their Catfish

Catfish farms do not fail because there is no market. The market for the product is huge and still growing, although in some areas they produce a lot of fish yet do not eat fish.

So, if you find yourself in such an area it would be wise to get your market elsewhere. For example, Ibadan produces a lot of fish and transports them to Abuja, Lagos, and to the east to sell them.

Marketing is part of the business and if neglected will frustrate the venture. This means “no market no sales”.

Therefore, fish farmers should have a regular supply of fish to be able to satisfy the customers regularly. However, some farms sell their produce only two or three times a year. This way you cannot build a good customer base.

The high cost of feed is also a contributing factor to why fish farmers hardly succeed. See our article on how to produce catfish feed at home. It will help you.

Finally, good feed and good water quality help the growth of the fish. Recent research findings reveal that frequent pond water renewal affects the growth of the fish. So, good water quality is not all about changing the water every day.


1. What are the most effective marketing strategies for selling catfish?

Employing a multi-channel approach is crucial. Direct sales to local markets, restaurants, wholesalers, and retailers, combined with online marketing through websites or social media, can maximize exposure and sales opportunities for catfish farmers.

2. How do I sell catfish to restaurants?

Selling catfish to restaurants involves ensuring top-quality fish, establishing connections with local eateries, presenting well-packaged products, negotiating fair prices, meeting legal requirements, maintaining consistent supply, arranging delivery logistics, and fostering good relationships through communication and feedback.

The key lies in offering high-quality, reliable service while meeting the specific needs of restaurant buyers.

3. What are there benefits of establishing relationships with buyers or restaurants?

Building relationships with buyers, including restaurants or local retailers, can lead to consistent and possibly higher sales volumes. Establishing trust, and reliability, and offering consistent quality can result in long-term partnerships that benefit both parties.

Final Note

There are different reasons catfish farms record low patronage in their farms, Addressing these factors through improvements in quality, pricing strategies, marketing efforts, diversification of products, enhancing customer service, and assessing the competitive landscape could help in increasing patronage for catfish farms.

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