6. Scale of tilapia fish farming

You also need to decide on the scale at which you want to farm tilapia or fish. Farming everywhere is a business that benefits from scale – the more you can produce the lower your cost per unit of production. Aquaculture is no different and the scale of your operation should be intended to be as large as you can physically make it and to whatever you can spend on it.

It is not wise to start farming at a larger scale than you can comfortably continue with at a zero income level when you begin. You have much to learn about the complete tilapia value chain and whilst a business plan will assist you greatly in developing a workable model, no amount of business plan development will be able to teach you the skills you will need to master to produce your fish. If you have R50m+ a large project development will look very different and we discuss this in more detail later.

Whilst RAS is capable of providing you with a high degree of control over your production your choice of location should reflect a long term view. It makes sense to make as best advantage of local conditions and access to market as possible, although the impact of this is felt more keenly on large scale projects.

Your budget is also important in that it takes money to make money in the case of farming, and in this aquaculture is no different.

Remember too that aquaculture is a 24/7/365 operation. It can take as little as 20 minutes to kill every single fish in a farm, and upwards of 6 months to rebuild stocking levels after a wipe out. You need eyes on your operation all the time. Scale helps you to achieve this.