Trout farming becomes big business in HelambuThe Bhandari brothers of Kiul Pati village of Helambu Rural Municipality started raising trout in March 2014. During their first year as fish farmers, they incurred losses as they learned the business.
The Bhandari brothers of Kiul Pati village of Helambu Rural Municipality started raising trout in March 2014. During their first year as fish farmers, they incurred losses as they learned the business.
Learning by doing, the Bhandari brothers became experts in fish farming. Five years after they took the plunge, they now earn Rs5 million annually from their trout farm. The Bhandari brothers have established the Rainbow Trout Research Centre.
“More than 200,000 fingerlings are produced here annually, and people also come here to learn fish farming,” said Uttam Mani Bhandari. It takes about two years to produce marketable fish, he added.
The fish farm is spread over 5 ropanis of land and it produces 10 tonnes of fish annually, said Bhandari. Fish valued at Rs7 million were sold last year, said Uttam Mani Bhandari.
According to him, fingerlings can be produced through various processes.
Fungus and unsafe water are the main reasons for fish dying in the ponds, and the water can be made safe with a plain filter. The fish have different growing stages, said Maya Tamang, a fish farmer. “We work according to a timetable that makes the fish ready for harvesting in mid-October.”
Fully grown fish and other fish are separated, she said. The fish produced in the village are sold to resorts and hotels in the area and also shipped to Kathmandu. Maya earns Rs3 million annually from fish farming.
With the increasing demand for trout in the market, many entrepreneurs like Bhandari and Maya have started fish farms in the area.
Fish farming is becoming a good source of income, and it has attracted many farmers.
Commercial fish farming has spread from Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality to Helambu and Melamchi. There are 10 trout farms in the district which produce 16 tonnes of fish annually, said the District Agriculture Development Office.
A cool climate is needed to raise rainbow trout, said Durga Dutta Panthi, information officer at the agriculture office. There is great demand for trout among foreigners too. Demand for trout is high in Kathmandu.