Seafoods are animals and plants obtained from bodies of water such as the sea, rivers, lagoons and oceans. The truth, however, is that not every animal or plant in the water is edible, as some are found to be poisonous! Also, the kind of seafood eaten depends on the region where they are most common. The most known seafood in Nigeria, especially in riverine and coastal states include crayfish, crabs, clams and periwinkles. Crayfish, (Cambarellus diminutus), sometimes called crawfish, is a freshwater crustacean resembling small lobsters to which they are related.
Before delving into the economic benefits of seafood it is important to know their nutritional benefits to man. According to HealthGuide NG apart from the popular catfish, Nigerians also eat tilapia, crayfish, croaker, salmon, mackerel (sardines) and also stockfish which is mostly 8imported.
According to World Fish Centre, fish accounts for about 40 percent of Nigeria’s protein intake, with fish consumption at 13.3 kg per person annually. It is usually used in preparing dishes like soups, stews, and even porridge. It can be boiled, fried, or even roasted.
Fish is a good source of animal protein and is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces bad cholesterol levels in the blood as well as boosts the function of the brain. Fish also contains fewer calories than other kinds of food, which makes it a great addition for those who want to lose weight.
Shrimp is rich in nutrients like vitamin A, B vitamins, protein, copper, selenium, iron, zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, and so on. This makes it a very healthy addition to your diet.
Prawns are like shrimp but much bigger in size. Unlike shrimps, prawns can serve as toppings as they are quite fleshy, which means there is a lot to eat. Prawns are a great source of Vitamins B-6, B-12 and Niacin, which help the body produce energy, build muscle and replenish red blood cells. Prawns contain significant amounts of iron, a mineral that is essential for the body to effectively distribute oxygen.
As for periwinkles, also known as sea snail, is mostly used by people from the South-South region of Nigeria, where it is used in making soups. Banga soup and Afang soup both go well with periwinkles. It is small and has a hard shell, which has to be removed before it can be used to cook. Periwinkles are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and magnesium and are also an excellent source of protein. All these make periwinkles one of the healthiest seafoods in Nigeria.
When it comes to maximizing the economic benefits of seafood, WealthResult.com insists that the profit margin of fish will always be high. This is because they sell very well in Nigerian restaurants, eateries, night bars and for home cooking. There are various uses of fish; hence, there is a steady demand for fish. Fish when given appropriate feeding grows very fast so the period of return on investment (ROI) is short.
The advantages of investing in frozen food in Nigeria include helping to maintain the flavour and nutrients of the food. Besides, it is cost effective, because frozen foods keep longer than fresh, refrigerated foods. The freezing process suspends enzyme activity that causes the food to rot.
It provides safety for storage since freezing suspends microbial and fungal activity in the food. As long as the food remains frozen, it is safe. Frozen foods give busy people a way to feed themselves and their families with healthy meals in minutes. Sometimes frozen foods are a better choice than fresh ones, such as in cases of food pathogen outbreaks and when there is a shortage of fresh food.
Furthermore, Wealthresult.com states that: “The rising demand for it is further boosted by the increasingly busy lifestyle of most Nigerian families, especially the middle class. Unlike in the rural areas where fresh food is readily available, the story is not the same in urban areas and for this reason, frozen food is preferred for convenience and ease of preservation”.
For instance, a kilogram of frozen chicken goes for a minimum of N650.00. It can even cost above a thousand naira depending on the size and location. That is why the business is very profitable. However, it has some level of risk as well as the problem of electricity experienced in the country. It also adds up to the cost of running the business.
So in setting up the business, one should consider these factors very carefully. The average standard frozen food store makes N200,000 profit monthly (some make much more than that while some make less). As well as knowing much about the competition.
It is necessary to raise your business capital. Before thinking of starting anything like a business venture, there must be money set aside for it. The level you begin with is determined by the amount of capital available to you. You can source your start-up capital through multiple means
Apart from the fact that equipment should be purchased and the refrigerators need to be stocked with goods, you need enough money for maintenance and running costs that will last for some five months. Amongst the needed equipment for the frozen food business in Nigeria: are freezers, tables, and chairs. knives (big and small), chisel, generator, work space, fans/air conditioner. Others are water containers, cartons of food to be sold, wooden board, aprons, cabinets, bowls or buckets and waste bins.
It is imperative to decide on your product line. You have to know what species of fish people in that area consume more. That will give you an idea of which one to start with. Also remember that if you are going to start with maybe fish and poultry food, that means there will be two refrigerators. That is because fish gives an awful smell and not everybody eats it. Storing it together with chicken will give you bad business.
Study the environment where you want to situate the business and be able to forecast what the turnover of the business will look like in a year or two.
Registration with the relevant associations is also a necessity. Every business line usually has an association that oversees its affairs. Good enough, some Associations can even provide credit facilities for their members. But avoid those that are prone to asking for multiple levies, thereby affecting your profit margin.
One has to be knowledgeable in building your customer base. This should form part of your business plan and research findings before you embark on the business. Good customer relations will act as a catalyst to improve the business performance.
Other significant steps to take include the proper planning of your storage system, getting an adequate power supply generator and your logistics for home delivery.
To succeed, put in efforts to reduce the disadvantages of sea foods such as too much salt content; that is high levels of sodium that can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure and heart-related disease in the consumers.
Also necessary is for one to go for training programs on hi-tech marketing gimmicks, customer relationships, branding, food processing and safety.