Rising demand gives boost to fish farmingFish farming is expanding rapidly in Bara district due to increased demand in both rural and urban markets.
Fish farming is expanding rapidly in Bara district due to increased demand in both rural and urban markets. Chhadi fish is the most popular variety among consumers because it is comparatively cheaper, and most fish farmers in the district are raising this species.
According to a survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2015, two types of Chhadi fish—Rahu and Naini—are produced in Nepal. The average price of the fish during the survey was Rs175 per kg for Rahu and Rs187 per kg for Naini.
“The taste of the fish is also one reason why many consumers prefer Chhadi,” said Shyam Babu Yadav, a resident of Kalaiya. “I always buy Chhadi due to its unique taste.”
Chhadi fish is worth Rs250-300 per kg in the market. Janga Bahadur Sah, president of the Fisheries Entrepreneurs Association, Bara, said that more and more farmers were raising Chhadi fish because of the high returns.
“Producing big fish takes time, and the cost of production is also high,” he said, adding that Chhadi fish could be produced in little time and at less cost. “We used to focus on producing big fishes in past years, but now we have shifted towards producing medium sized Chhadi fish as it yields higher profits,” Sah said.
As a result of growing demand for fish, the number of farmers and fish ponds in the district has increased. According to farmers, traders nowadays come to the farmers’ doors to buy fish. Simraungadh, Madhuban, Bodhban and Kalaiya are centres of commercial fish farming in Bara.
“Due to the ideal water temperature and soil in Bara, fish can be harvested thrice in a year. As a result, fisheries have become a major income generating activity for farmers here,” said Nejamuddin Miya, a fish farmer in Simraungadh Municipality. “We have not been able to supply fish as per demand.”
Farmers said that they were worried by the increasing price of fish feed. As Nepal does not produce enough feed, farmers have to turn to expensive imported feed from India, Miya said. “As a result of the high cost of feed, fish prices have also gone up.”
The government has launched a special programme in Bara under the 10-year Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project declaring the district as a fisheries super zone. Fish farms in Bara cover 1,765 hectares.
There are 4,340 fish ponds in the district. According to government statistics, the average productivity in pocket areas like Simraungadh and Pachrauta is 7-7.5 tonnes of fish per hectare. However, productivity outside the pocket areas is 6.2 tonnes per hectare. Bara produces fish worth Rs3 billion annually.