Freshwater Fish Farming in Ponds-A small scale business opportunity
India is blessed with large number of ponds and rivers.This adds great opportunities for Indian farmers to develop successful career in Inland fish farming. Even though rivers are great source of Inland freshwater fishes ,using rivers for fish farming is a great challenge due to various reasons.So it would be more convenient if we can utilize the freshwater ponds available for fish farming.
Among total Inland freshwater fish harvest in India,around 65% fish contribution is from freshwater ponds.But we contribute only around 5% of the global production.So there exists great possibilities for India in this field.The main fact is that we are not utilizing the huge possibilities we have in this farming.
Fish is one of the favourite item in the food menu of almost 60% of Indians.So market demand is always high for fish items.If we consider the global demand also,the total requirement becomes very high.The main source of fish is from the sea.but the global fish harvest from the sea is decreasing rapidly.The only way we can ensure availability of fish to meet increasing demand is through fish farming.Inland freshwater fish farming plays major role here.We have large number of natural ponds here.With a good business plan and decision,we can convert this opportunity to a successful small scale farm.
Preparing The Pond
The Important Infrastructure we require in this farming is the pond.We can utilize either existing one or we can construct a new one.Ponds are two types. Perennial and seasonal.For Seasonal ponds we have to use quick maturing Fish breeds as the water will not exist the whole year in this ponds.Preparation of ponds involves cleaning the bottom of the pond,fertilizing the pond,optimizing PH value of pond water,checking quality of water such tasks.These are important for high return.The Quality of the Fish produced depends up on the Quality of the pond.
Selection of Fish Breeds
Selection of Fish breeds plays major role in the sustainability of our business.The decision should be based on market demand,maintenance point of view,availability of resource,effective utilization of resources etc.Carp items such as catla,Rohu,Grass carp,common carp etc are suitable for Indian ponds.Other breeds such as Tilapia,cat fish etc also cultivated in Indian Ponds.Polyculture (growing two or more fish breeds in same pond) is the suitable strategy for optimum utilization of resources.You can get quality fish seeds(baby fishes) from nearest fish farmer or from fisheries department.
Fish Feeding and Maintenance
Special care must be taken while growing fishes.The water PH value must be 7 to 8 for optimum growth.Chances of virus attacks must be avoided.The pond should be protected from predators.Daily scouting should be done and suspected fishes should the isolated from pond to avoid spreading of diseases all over the pond.Diseases can be treated by treating water using salt, potassium permanganate solution,chemicals etc.It is better to prevent diseases than curing it.
Local market is the easily available market for majority of farmers.But the profit will be less compared to exporting.Fish meat can be processed to produce value added products and the can be exported to foreign markets.formation of farmers association can help for this marketing.The advantage of local market is that,the selling of fish is not a problem here and farmers can get a decent income.So strength of both markets ensures the success of this farming.Fish farming is becoming one of the main farm field which reduce the unemployment issue in village areas.So opportunity always exists here for those who love fish farming.