KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): In a short span of a year, the number of fish farms has doubled in southern Kandahar province, where the mushroom growth has created a lucrative source of income for locals.
Last year, there were 92 fish farms across Kandahar, but the number has since shot up to 176 — and continuing.Fazal Ahmad, a resident of the provincial capital,owns a huge fish farm.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News fish seeds are abundantly available in Arghandab River, Dahla Dam and Helmand. But he wonders why the seeds are still being imported from Pakistan.
Encouraged by high demand for aquatic food in Kandahar, he recalls: “I set up a fishery farm on two acres of land in Bagh Pul area two years ago and then brought fish seeds from Jalalabad.”
Happy with the result, Ahmad focused on enlarging his business. His farm produced around 15,000 kilograms of fish — sold in Kandahar City and sent to neighbouring provinces.
He has also distributed thousands of fish seeds to aquaculturists in Zabul, Uruzgan, Helmand and Farah provinces. He has opened a fish eatery in Kandahar City, thronged daily by hundreds of fishetarians and foodies.
By the same token, Ahmad also purchases fish from farms in these provinces for sale to customers. “I bought 26,700 kilograms of fish from other farms and sold them to clients this solar year.”
Content with his business, the man asked the government to provide farmers with cold storage and packing facilities. Winter represents the boom time for his eatery, though the cold snap does create farm problems.
Abdul Ghafoor, another resident of Kandahar, runs a farm with 40,000 fish in Daman district. Despite the problems he encountered in initial work on the farm, he is doing a roaring business now.
He says six types of fish can be found in the province but carp is the most consumed variety. It can grow up to three kilograms in weight in six months and 32 kilograms in three years.
The agriculture department provides only technical guidelines to fish farmers, who need much more, the aquaculturist added.
Agriculture official Eng. Mohammadullah Noori, recalls fish farming in Kandahar began in 2007, but most of the vertebrate animals died for different reasons in the initial days.
The first farm was built in 2012, six in 2013, 92 in 2014 and 176 last year. Dozens of individuals approach the agriculture department daily for permission set up farms, he recalls.
Given the growing appetite of Kandahar residents for fish, the business is all set to flourish.Government support will enable the farmers to expand their projects — and maximise profits from them.