Complete Shrimp farming beginners guide [Become a successful Shrimp farmer]
Shrimp farming is an aqua-cultural age-long livestock farming business that exists in a freshwater or marine environment producing prawns and shrimps.
Thanks to modern technology, shrimp farming has moved from a traditional small-scale farming business to a highly sort after business in the agric-sector.
With an estimated global potential of over $384 million annually.
The global demand for shrimp has maintained a steady increase in the past few years increasing the need for shrimp farming as a commercial business.
Unfortunately, the high demand for Shrimp has not been met with a satisfactory supply of shrimp.
This may be due to knowledge deficiency on how to commercialize shrimp farming.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for more farmers to acquire the right knowledge and invest in shrimp farming.
In this shrimp farming guide, we will discuss the various benefits of shrimp farming, how to start shrimp farming.
In addition, we will share the possible challenges in shrimp farming, solutions and positioning for profit.
Advantages of Shrimp farming
Shrimp farming has many advantages, this is one of the reasons its popularity has increased tremendously in the past few years.
- High profit-making probability: The Shrimp global demand is currently estimated to be over 4.75 million metric tons annually with supply far behind demand.
Shrimp farming, therefore, presents a good profit-making opportunity.
- Low loss risk: The risk of loss in farming shrimps is very minimal compared to other livestock.
- Low mortality rate: Mortality in livestock is a global challenge in the livestock farming industry.
Shrimps have high resistivity to diseases making them viable for production.
- Rapid growth: Shrimps have high reproductive ability, it multiplies fast and in large numbers when properly managed.
- Shrimp market is very much available: Unlike before, Shrimps are currently sold in most local and urban/semi-urban markets.
There is huge ease in selling shrimps now than before.
- Export opportunity: Shrimp farming is currently the most valuable sector of global seafood. Farmers can export their shrimps to other countries of the world.
China is currently the world-leading producer, with Thailand, Indonesia, India and Vietnam, Brazil and Ecuador not far on the table.
Emerging farmers will benefit hugely from the export demand for Shrimp.
- Rapid Growth in the Shrimp value chain: There is tremendous growth in the value chain of Shrimp with a growth rate of 3% annually.
- Shrimp farming can be done by anyone, therefore a great source of employment.
So, how can one start a shrimp farm?
How to start Shrimp farming and become successful farming Shrimps
To start Shrimp farming, you need a place for your farm, a pond, source of water, viable juvenile shrimps and a good understanding of how to manage Shrimps.
You can start a shrimp farming business by following the steps below
Step 1 of shrimp farming guide: Get a proper training
Shrimp farming is easy but you need proper training to understand the basics of keeping shrimps.
Training will give you practical knowledge and present an opportunity for you to understand the behaviours of shrimps.
How they respond to their environment and what to do in distress times.
Shrimps are best farmed using modern technologies; training will also ensure you understand how to operate these machines.
It is therefore advisable that you get trained before starting your shrimp farm.
Step 2: Select a suitable site
Aside from getting proper training, a good site selection is a starting win.
Select a calm, noiseless place, it is best to avoid residential areas or industrial areas with much noise.
The soil of the location should be clay soil, this helps to hold water.
For commercial farming, ensure the location has a source of light and water.
Step 3: Choose a Shrimp farming method
There are three main Shrimp farming methods one can choose from. we have the
- The Traditional /extensive method
- Semi-intensive method
- Intensive Shrimp Farming
The Traditional /extensive method
This is the easiest shrimp farming method, where shrimps are farmed with little or no intervention from the farmer.
This method of shrimp farming is characterized by the construction of irregular ponds, sized between 3 – 20 hectares.
Seed stocking usually comes from the wild and therefore supply is seasoned.
The average stocking density in the traditional method is usually low between 2000 – 5000 fry and yield 500-800kg/ha annually.
The difference between the traditional and semi-intensive methods of shrimp farming is in the introduction of a systematic pond configuration approach in the semi-intensive method.
This method is more labour demanding and varies from one country to another.
It also requires more technological input than the traditional method.
The ponds are constructed with separate inlet and outlet gates to facilitate water exchange, pond preparation and harvest.
The ponds are rectangular with a size of about 1-4 hectares and a depth of 0.80 to 1.2 meters.
The semi-intensive shrimp farming method involves a high stocking rate, use of supplementary feed and water.
The stocking rate ranges from 20,000 – 40,000 fry per hectare.
This method also requires the use of water pumps to facilitate water exchange.
Intensive Shrimp Farming method
This method demands high financial and technical input though it comes with high financial rewards. It is known for its great return on investment.
The major purpose of the intensive Shrimp farming method is to increase the rate of growth, produce uniform shrimps and increase yield.
This method makes use of earthen ponds and concrete tanks.
This method is distinctive for its dependence on hatchery-bred fry, use of formulated feed and high stocking density.
Intensive water management and the introduction of air to increase dissolved oxygen in pond water are also notable features of this method.
To manage waste in the water, a high level of water exchange is important in this method of shrimp farming.
Step 4: Construct shrimp farming pond
There are different types of Shrimp farms a farmer can construct depending on the farmers’ budget and chosen method of farming.
You can construct
- Concrete pond
- Earthen pond.
- You can also use plastics ponds or water pools
- Water containers can also be used
Whichever type of farm you desire to construct, a constant supply of fresh water and oxygen is necessary.
As a beginner, you can consult an existing shrimp farmer in your location for recommendations based on your environment.
A pond with adequate water depth is ideal for shrimp farming.
The pond must be constructed close to a water source; this will greatly reduce the stress of sourcing for water.
Your pond must be spacious to avoid over-crowding the shrimps.
You can construct a two-phased pond, one for breeding the hatchlings before transferring them to the breeding (main) pond.
Shrimp farming in tanks
If you intend to use tanks, then you must build the tanks to suit the need of the shrimps.
You can build a concrete or plastic tank. Kindly consult experts or institutes for directions and advice if you can’t do it yourself.
Depending on your desired farm size, the tank should be of adequate depth.
Farming shrimps in tanks is best for small-scale farming, you may need one or two workers to assist you in the day to day running of the farm.
Unless you are convinced that your budget is appropriate for a particular method of shrimp farming and you are capable of managing such a method.
You have no business choosing such a system but if all boxes are ticked, then you can choose such a method.
Important factors to note in pond construction
The type of soil in your chosen area is important, the soil should be examined.
Soil analysis should be done to ascertain the properties of the soil.
Sandy-Clay soil is best for pond construction because of its ability to retain water.
For tank ponds, it is best placed on flat land, this reduces the stress of movement within the farm.
For more quality design, you can consult an expert or an institute.
You must maintain good water quality on the farm. Change the water regularly, the pH of the water should be between 7-9 in the freshwater system.
Contaminated water or water from the industry should be avoided.
As a farmer, maintaining a clean farm is important to your livestock.
Clean the surrounding of the pond regularly, ensure you remove grasses from time to time if the farm isn’t cemented.
Step 5: Choose viable shrimp species
There are different species of shrimp all over the world, certain species are popular in different parts of the world.
Ensure you select the species that are popular in your area unless you are farming shrimp for export purposes.
You can choose the Giant River prawn for freshwater shrimp farming or the Giant Tiger Prawn if you have access to saltwater.
If you are farming with your local market as your target market, seek the species that the market favours.
Step 6: Feed the shrimps properly
Feeding is essential in commercial shrimp farming; providing the shrimp with good food leads to great yield.
Their food varies from one growth stage to another growth stage.
At an early stage, the shrimps can survive on natural food in the pond such as organic materials and micro-organisms in the pond.
This changes as they get older and stronger, for commercial shrimp farming.
You can buy food supplements from industries and vendors who sell them in large quantities.
Food can be administered using feeding trays, automated machines or broadcasting methods.
Supplements like dry pellets, rice bran, toad (chopped) and frogs can also be added together with industrial feed.
Step 7: Care and Management in shrimp farming
Taking adequate care of the shrimps is important in commercial shrimp farming.
Quality care promotes their health and growth, ensure you monitor the shrimps on regular basis.
If it is possible, employ the help of an expert, ensure the farm is neat all the time.
Livestock generally enjoys neatness.
Step 8: Harvesting
Shrimps mature fast, they reach market weight within a short period, especially when properly managed well.
Harvesting can be carried out with the use of a net or traditionally by draining out water from the pond leaving the shrimps behind.
Harvesting is best done during the cool period of the day to prevent the sun from increasing the temperature and hotness of the water which is harmful to the shrimps.
You can harvest the big ones first and the small ones later and vice versa.
Step 9: Marketing and selling shrimps
This is the last step and also an important part of the shrimp farming journey.
Marketing shrimp is easy. You can sell your shrimp in the local or urban markets near you.
In a commercial farming system, yields are larger, you can export to countries that shrimps are in high demand.
Shrimp farming problems
Shrimp farming face notable problems, some includes
- Lack of knowledge of Shrimp farming: Just very few farmers have the prerequisite knowledge to start shrimp farming.
- Environmental degradation and pollution: Pollution as experienced in most countries hinders the growth of Shrimp farming generally.
- Limited access to mechanized shrimp farming system: This is a huge problem especially in developing countries.
- Over dependency on manpower.
- Lack of access to international shrimp market and trade thereby reducing the chances of commercial farming.
In this case, farmers are forced to produce in smaller quantities just to satisfy local demand.
Expansion and growth of their farms is therefore limited.
- Inadequate storage facilities: This one huge problem facing shrimp farming in developing countries.
- Lastly, Poor funding for research activities leaving farmers with little or no knowledge about shrimp farming.
Summary of Shrimp farming
Shrimp has a delicious taste, low in calories, a good source of unsaturated fat, high protein, and vitamins contents which makes it good for the human body.
It is not hard to farm, you can start little on a small scale level and grow with time. As earlier stated, Proper training is important.
It provides you with practical knowledge, having a mentor or an expert to always seek advice from is also important.
That is all about how to start a shrimp farming business. We wish you the best of luck in your shrimp farming journey.
You can share your opinion about shrimp farming in your locality with us, ask questions and make suggestions using the comment box below.
Is shrimp farming viable in your area?
We would love to know.