A fish factory in Sreepur
You always have to be strategic to become successful in the farming sector. Success in farming depends on how skilled a farmer is. It's not just about investing money and time, it's about investing talent, thoughts as well as using modern technology in the work process. Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of interest and enthusiasm among the youth for fish farming using the biofloc method. While some biofloc projects have been successful, there have been reports of failures also. However, the initiatives haven't stopped.
In December last year, Mohammad Abdullah Jaber, managing director of Noman Group of Industries, called me and said he had seen my reports on biofloc on YouTube and had taken up the initiative of fish farming on a portion at his factory premises in Gazipur's Sreepur upazila. I was very curious about the matter because I was glad to know that industrialists are also giving spaces for farming enterprises, which I have dreamt of for long.
I know Jaber for a long time. He is a man, full of passion for agriculture and has been engaged with farming since his childhood. As a child, when everyone at his home liked to watch cartoons and entertainment programmes on television, he liked my agricultural TV shows. He also cultivates vegetables and raises poultry beside his factory. I went to his factory to see his biofloc method and harvest. Jaber has done different species of fishes, including shing, gulsha and shoal in 5,33,000 litres of water. Indoor fish farms have become an attractive venture for young entrepreneurs. A biofloc shed, 182-feet long and 65-feet wide, next to Noman Group's huge factory. Eleven tanks made of rod cages and Korean PVC-coated plastic on the top. The height of the tanks are about four to four and a half feet with a capacity of 10,000 to 1,00,000 litres. There are aerators, oxygen bubbles installed in the tank. Each tank has different varieties of fishes. Jaber said the sheds and tanks were made of unused iron sheet, rods and old materials. As a result, the cost was not too high. Jaber released only a gram of fingerlings in these tanks back in December, 2020. Like fabric production, fish production is going on in other sheds of the textile mill.
Jaber's biofloc factory is a smaller version of the fish factory I had seen in China. Water was cleared from two tanks from where Jaber would harvest fish. Shing fish in one tank, tengra in the other. I was amazed to see lots of fishes in a small place, a 10-feet by 10-feet tank, containing 10,000 litres of water which produced fish that might have required 0.40 acres of pond in reality.
First I went in front of the shing tank. Arif, who is in charge here, said fingerling quality, is a big issue in biofloc fish farming. If the fingerlings are not good, it is difficult to harvest the desired size. It takes four months to produce shing fish in biofloc method. Jaber is very optimistic about the purity of the fish produced in this way. He said, the colour and taste of this fish is like river fish or you may call it freshwater fish. Even I had not seen such bright shing fishes for a long time. The colour of gulsha and tengra was also shiny. The other nine tanks were cultivating Vietnamese shoil, monosex tilapia, Vietnamese koi and pabda fish. Jaber and his colleagues are very happy with the success they achieved from the experimental production in the first couple of months. Jaber dreams of distributing fish he produced from biofloc to his staff. Through this, he can see there is a good market and demand for biofloc fish. He is very much optimistic that Bangladesh will soon export a lot of fish produced, using the biofloc method. And I was really pleased by seeing an industry owner getting more interested in farming and a factory is leaving space for fish cultivation, in other words, for farming. I believe the revolution in the agricultural industry will be accomplished through entrepreneurs like Mohammad Abdullah Jaber.
Traditional farming is now rapidly shifting to commercial arena. Commercial entrepreneurs are leaning towards production systems which can be financially profitable in a short time. To accelerate this system, various technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence have been added to agriculture sector. Consequently, production has increased scientifically and has become dynamic. If there is no mechanical disorder, there is no risk of loss in production. Therefore, people from unemployed youth to the largest financial entrepreneurs are getting involved in agriculture through farm enterprises. Both sides want quick financial return. Many are also reaching success by following proper management. But some are lagging behind in management just to focus on money. Over the last few years, biofloc has become a very attractive investment sector for new entrepreneurs. But keep in mind that 'biofloc' is a completely scientific method for fish farming. There is a lot of competition going on around the world for this system. There is RAS method, Bottom Clean Raceway and also IPRS (In-Pond Raceway System) method. Again, several methods are being practiced for fish farming in intensive and semi-intensive approaches. In fact, it is a matter of paying close attention. It is a matter of following scientific management. There is no chance to do anything outside the formula here. If an entrepreneur does not fully apprehend the issue, it will be fatal. I wish success to all the entrepreneurs. With that, I hope you will put more emphasis on systematic tactics that will give you a productive commercial agricultural enterprise.