Rainbow trout farming in Kaligandaki river

JOMSOM: Five people here in Ghasa VDC have ventured into commercial rainbow trout farming by utilizing perennial freshwater of the Kaligandaki river basin.

Nabin Bhattachan, a local hotelier, in partnership with four other investors, has leased six ropanis of land to construct raceway for fishes. The group has already invested Rs 2.9 million for the construction of infrastructure.

Bhattachan said they would invest an additional Rs 5 million for purchasing fingerlings and financing operational cost for 14 months, the time required for the fingerlings to mature.

Talking to Republica, Bhatachan said his group came up with the idea after High Mountain Agribusiness & Livelihood Improvement Project (HIMALI) Project called for new agri-business idea about a year ago. Bhattachan leads the group of four– Bishal Sherchan, Rajan Gauchan, Punit Gauchan and Bikram Gauchan — but all of them have equal investment in the project.

HIMALI has decided to provide a grant of about Rs 5.03 million for the project. The project funded by Asian Development Bank supports agribusiness in the high hills and mountains to improve the livelihood of the locals.

“We will bring some 74,750 fingerlings of rainbow trout from Shardi Khola of Kaski and release them in the raceway by the second week of January next year,” Bhattachan said.

“After 14 months we expect to sell about 7,480 kg of trout at Rs 1,000 per kg,” added Bhattachan.

Bhattachan said that the hotels in the area are frequented by foreign as well as domestic tourists. Fish is a good source of protein and is easy to eat as it lacks intra muscular bones. “Moreover, trout traders in Kaski have assured that they would purchase our fish,” added Bhattachan.

President of Mustang Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khagendra Tulachan, also a hotel entrepreneur, said there are 140 hotels in Jomsom, Ghasa, Lete, Muktinath and Kagbeni. “The trout produced in the farm would be supplied to these hotels. We bring trout from Pokhara but we are not able to fulfill the demand,” added Tulachan.

Kenneth E. Neils, fish culture expert of HIMALI project, said that similar rainbow trout farming is already in operation in Solukhumbu. “The rainbow trout farm will fulfill the demand for trout in the area,” Claimed Neils. The village lies at an altitude of 2070 meters.

Amar Bahadur Shah, chief of HIMALI, said the project provided financial support to Bhattachan to introduce the concept of agri-business in the area. Bhattachan also said half a dozen local youths will be employed in their farm. Two of them are to head to Kathmandu for two-month training. Over 100,000 tourists visit Jomsom and Kagbeni, Kagbeni and upper Mustang annually.

Rainbow trout was first introduced in Nepal some five decades ago from United Kingdom, Japan and India.

source: republica, 05 DEC 2013

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