THIS refers to the article ‘Fish exports on the increase’ (Economic and Business Review, Oct 1). The writer says that fish exports are on the increase and Pakistan’s export crosses $300 million mark for the first time.
He complains that had the authorities provided some assistance after the floods the fish production could have sustained long after the floodwater was gone. We had floods last year and again this year.
It seems that we will have floods every year and we must devise a strategy to convert this calamity into an opportunity.
I had the privilege of travelling inside China by road a couple of times. It was observed that almost every village has a small lake, which is segregated in two segments by a fine fishing net.
On inquiry, I was told that one is reserved for fish and the second one is for prawns. These ponds have ducks and geese in the dozens. Their droppings in the ponds provide fish food and also help in the development of micro-organisms which are also a kind of food.
Ducks also eat small fish and algae in the lake. There is no need for any other food for fish. Apart from rice, grain, pulses, vegetables and fruits that these farmers grow, fish, prawns, ducks and their eggs make these villages almost self-sufficient in their food requirements. This is what I saw in 2000 and 2001, I am sure things will be far better in China now.
I experimented the above in a small geo-membrane-lined pond at Port Qasim. With no knowledge of fish farming, we put fish seeds procured from a fish nursery in Thatta and bought two dozen geese and ducks. The duck and geese population multiplied and fish rapidly grew without any supplementary food.
There is no science involved in the above process. If we did this, using the technology which is available locally, the results would be far better.
Compared to grain, vegetables and fruits, the fish yield per acre is probably one of the highest in terms of rupee profits. Some of the flood survivors of 2011 have already started fish farming with good results.
Can’t we gift this simple knowledge to our poor villagers in the rest of Pakistan and help them improve their diet and lifestyles.