This is something you should think about before buying your fish. Who are you going to sell the tilapia to? There are several different options and today I would like to discuss some of these with you.
Here on our farm we use combination of these.
The first option is selling them yourself to individuals. Basically people come to you and want to buy a few fish, sometimes just one for dinner. Although both of you are cutting out the middleman and you can get a higher price for each fish, this is hassle. Catching one or two fish at a time is time consuming and as they say, “time is money”. This is still a viable option and often the other person may offer to help you. Be warned, they will be pickier than if they bought it from a store.
Another option is selling to a store. This is something we do on a weekly basis. We sell to a few corner shops. They usually require the fish for the weekend and like them to arrive Thursday or Friday. On average we sell between 25-40 kilos a week per shop. There are several small shops nearby and most of these sell fish. If this is something you plan to do, you will need a suitable vehicle for delivering these, especially if you deliver to more than one store. Although you will be quick in each store you go to, the fish should be kept cold or as cool as possible. Use large Styrofoam boxes with ice to keep the fish from going off.
The third option is selling to a middle man but smaller quantities. This too is something we do on a weekly basis. Our weekly local buyer, arrives early on a Saturday morning. We get the fish out of the lake, weighed and he is on his way. Because we try and support our local community, if he can't pay us upfront it isn't a problem, he sells the fish and then returns with the cash less his commission of course.
The last option we have used is selling to a large buyer. He sets a date, arrives with a truck loaded with ice and boxes. He also provides his team of men to prepare the fish. His men get the fish out of the lake, clean them, weigh them and then we are paid. This is a long day for everyone concerned but it means you are selling the bulk of your fish. The larger ones of course command the highest price per kilo. Our buyer paid more for anything over 800grams. The next size the pay was less and then the smallest ones less than 500 grams was less still.
Something which we haven't done is sell to a company for export to the USA. This, although profitable, isn't something we were interested in doing as all our fish were various sizes. Locally there was a tilapia farmer who looked into this and by the time he calculated the cost of the machinery he would need, and the fact that their restrictions were so tight, he too decided to pass.
These are just some of the options for selling tilapia, there are of course more and in future posts, we will be looking at even more.