Q) What is aquaculture?
Aquaculture is the growing of aquatic plants (mainly seaweeds) or animals (fish, shrimp, prawns, crabs, lobster, alligators) for all or part of their life cycles. Aquaculture is the production and husbandry of aquatic plants and animals in controlled environments. aquaculture is also known as Fish Farming, Fish Culture, Shrimp Farming and so on.
Plants and animals can be grown in freshwater, saltwater/marine or brackish water (a mixture of sea and fresh water)
Aquaculture production can be extensive (basic, limited capital & management, low production), semi-intensive (in between extensive and intensive) and intensive (high capital & management, high level of control and high production rates)
Q) Is fish farming profitable?
Yes, fish farming is very profitable considering that the rate of fish at local wholesale is around Rs. 200 – 300 per kg depending on the size of the fish.
Q) Which is the best type of culture for Pakistan (Sindh)?
The best type at present (2010) for the province of Sindh is a land based modified extensive or at best semi-intensive finfish / fish culture.
Q) What are the basic requirements for fish farming?
Land of course, but any land would not do. Site selection is most important requirement in aquaculture. For site selection, Soil Quality, Water Quality & Availability, Topography of the Land, Drainage Channel / Sem Nali and the location are very important. The soil must have 25 – 30% clay content for building dykes, water retention and good production. There must be ample water of good quality. Lifting water to fill in large ponds is very costly and area that can be gravity filled and or drained are preferred.
Q) How much land is required?
For extensive / modified extensive, minimum land required is 50 acres or more. For a local working zamindar / agriculturist, even a 5 acre farm is feasible. For anyone wishing to start fish farming from scratch, 50 acres or more is economically feasible. For semi-intensive farming, project can be started from a few acres but 20 acres of land would be more desirable.
1 acre = 4840 sq yards – 1 hectare = 2.5 acres approx.
Q) How long does it take for fish to grow or when do I get return on investment?
Unlike the west and due to the species cultured in Sindh, larger fish are preferred which also fetch a higher price. Once the pond (s) are constructed and stocked, harvesting / selling can begin after 12 months. 15 months are preferred but 18 months give the highest results. A harvest cycle can be attained to provide fish during 6-8 months of the year.
Q) Which are the most common species cultured?
Major Carps – Rohu, Morakhi/Mori & Theri/Thela; Chinese Carps – Silver & Grass Carp; Catfish – Singhari, Malli/Yarko; Snakehead – Mundi/Sowl, Phool/Chitti Mundi; Tilapia Nilotica;
Q) How much capital is required?
A very difficult question. This depends on the land layout, the height of the water and the depth of the drainage channel, topography of the land, how much to excavate wothout ruining/removing the top soil, distance of the water from land, the water channel, stocking rates of fish per acre and so on. Generally speaking, a minimum of Rs. 50,000 per acre (excluding price of land) of Capital investment is required to completion of ponds and stocking. There would be the matter of recurring expenses such as fertilization, staff salaries, construction of chowkis, chowkidars and ration etc. This too depends on the size of the farm. As such working capital of Rs. 30,000 per acre per annum is required.
Q) What are the returns?
Returns depend on inputs. Inputs are correct fish stocking rates, good quality identifiable seed, proper fertilization, vigilance and strong management. Harvest techniques, proper magement of harvesters, transportation to market and having reliable staff to sell the produce is also very important. On average, you should expect to sell over Rs. 100,000 worth of fish per acre (gross). Average net income from fish farms is over Rs. 50,000 per acre per year but with proper management, net profits of Rs. 100,000 per acre per year can be achieved.
Q) Which areas are most suitable for fish farming?
Thatta and Badin are most suitable. For farmers/investors in Karachi, Thatta, Gharo/Sakro are the most suitable.
Q) How much does land cost?
Depending on the location whether main road or side road or very remote, land costs Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 300,000 per acre. Very good land can probably be purchased for around Rs. 125,000 per acre.
Q) What services do Aquaculture Technologies provide?
Everything from A-Z. Feasibility Reports, Site selection, land purchase, pond construction, seed selection or supply, staff, complete or partial management, harvest staff, training, marketing etc.
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