With eight fisheries in Farmgaon village in Lhamoizingkha, Dagana, villagers claim that the government’s support to start up the business fared well.

Today, most farmers are continuing the business, which they started on the condition that they can quit if it doesn’t fare well after three years. The farmers signed an agreement with the government in 2013 after the government provided them Nu 67,000 each to start the business. The government also covered the cost of fingerlings and transportation in the last three years.

A farmer, Lha Tshering Sherpa, said fish farming is the most lucrative business of all livestock farming. “The profit margin is really good, since there is less work in breeding and raising fish.”

He said that his fishpond has a capacity to nurture in 5,000 fingerlings and it took almost a year for the pond to have natural algae.

Lha Tshering Sherpa said although he could not make a profit in the first year, he fetched good money since the second year. “It fetched about Nu 80,000  in the last harvest.”

The fish is supplied to the local market.

Lha Tshering said that he expects good income next year, as he added 3,500 fingerlings about a month ago.

Another farmer, Karma Sherpa, who is the chairman of the group, said fishery brings good income. “We will continue the business, as we have three years experience.”

He said that fishery is suitable in Lhamoizingkha because of the weather and climatic condition.

Meanwhile, there are three private fishponds in Lhamoizingkha.

An owner of a private fish pond, Lal Bahadur Pradhan, said that he started fishery in 2009. “Although it is a small one, it is running well as of now,” he said. “I just invested about Nu 7,000.”

He had excavated his pond deep to expand the business recently. “Fish die when the pond was small, as the water gets heated quickly.”

He also attributed the low cost of fingerlings and feeds to effective fish business in the locality. Farmers feed on banana leaves and other organic grasses, including algae to the fish.

Farmers say it takes eight months to raise fish. They say they harvest fish in December and January, which is the peak season for marriage ceremonies and other celebrations in Lhamoizingkha. Silver carp, grass carp, and common carp are mostly cultivated.

Farmers, however, say they face water supply, market and accounts management challenges since it is difficult to have water during paddy cultivation season.

The local fish has also not marketed beyond Lhamoizingkha. Fishery owners also said they did not introduce proper bookkeeping systems to maintain profit and loss details.

Rajesh Rai | Lhamoizingkha