Since the 80s of last century, fish farmers and entrepreneurs started commercial fish farming. Before that time, they merely had any idea about farming fish and getting financial benefit out of it.
Many later took to fish farming and turned it into a profitable enterprise. People from different classes and professions joined in and they have made this sector one of the most enriched one by now.
Many others are following, being inspired by success stories and programmes on the fish cultivation methods on the TV and newspapers.
In the 90s, farmers started fish farming in seasonal flood plains. Comilla’s Daudkandi has been a revolution for this model of fish farming. In course of time, thousands of farmers have got involved with this new approach. Many of you have already watched this on Hridoye Mati O Manush.
After Comilla, for the past one decade in the floodplains of Narsingdi’s Shibpur, fish farming has spread, specifically in Bilshoron. Lands here usually stay under water for five to six months. Only natural fish used to arrive here in the past. Now, the same area sees revolution in fish farming, giving a great mileage for the fish farmers and entrepreneurs.
Thousands of tonnes of fishes are produced as over a hundred fish farming projects, small and big, are working in the floodplain in Narsingdi. As per the district fisheries office the projection of production has become almost double in couple of years.
Bilshoron is such a remarkable fish hub, actually a majestic floodplain, blessed with different varieties of fishes. Some great entrepreneurs have taken lease of 120 bighas of low water land and farming indigenous and foreign fish varieties. The main entrepreneur behind this project is Jewel Karim Bhuyian. Jewel has four brothers and all of them are highly educated and involved in fish farming. They are producing fish on around 300 bighas of land in Narsingdi, Netrakona and Sylhet.
“Fish farming is in our blood and this has turned into our main family business for the past two decades,” says Jewel.
Under this project on the floodplains, Jewel and his brothers are producing around 800 tonnes of fish. They’ve already spent Tk 9 crore behind all their leased floodplains across the country.
So far Jewel could make yearly 20% profit of their total investment. As the profit is on the rise, Jewel and his brothers have extended the area of fish farming.
“Starting with only seven bighas of floodplains, we have extended fish farming area to hundreds of bighas of such lands,” confidently adds Jewel.
Fishermen net huge catches of their cultivated fish at Bilshoron, a floodplain in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi
Their diligence and perseverance have given them good returns. They believe if the government can bring in new strategies and technologies, it will definitely add a new dimension in their objective and there will be an even bigger boom.
The five brothers have also started experimental layer farm on large cages set over their leased floodplains. This technology is although an old one, but chicken drops are going into the water as fish feed. And, the two thousand layer chickens are giving Jewel and his brothers around 1700 to 1800 eggs daily on an average. Jewel has really proved his skill about pond management. They are making sure that the floodplain water is clean and bacteria cannot infect the fish. These are the most significant issues that one entrepreneur should keep in mind before putting a duck, chicken or even a rabbit farm over floodplain or ponds.
“We have further plans to make chicken farms over all our floodplains,” says Muhib Hasan Bhuiyan, brother of Jewel.
People who own these lands also believe that by giving lease they are now doing much better than before. In the past, these lands used to stay under water without any output.
“The entire development scenario of this region has changed,” said Monir Hossain, a local from Shibpur.
These floodplains are not only contributing to the development of livelihood but also ensuring fresh fish for the consumers around the region. Many people have got employments in the project. Right now as per the fisheries department account, fish is being cultivated on 430 hectares of floodplains in Narsingdi. But the locals believe it can spread and become more profitable, if the right plan and government focus is there to promote this kind of new venture or entrepreneurship.
Dear readers, our fish used to come from natural resources in the past. Fish farming was a rare scene during that time. Now the days have changed and approaches towards doing something new with positive effect have changed along with it. Bangladesh now stands fourth in producing sweet water fish. And, I must say floodplain fish farming has been a revolution for sure in the positive movement of producing more fish. Millions of people have joined in this process with their heartfelt efforts and labour. They strived for more and now the good results are coming. I strongly believe an absolutely planned fish farming strategy will give Bangladesh even greater success and achievement in near future.