Freshwater prawn farming is always a challenge for new farmers who have little experience in fish farming. But for an experienced farmer, it is always a good profit generating small scale business idea. In India,a farmer can easily arrange a space for prawn farming as there are lots of freshwater bodies available.But there are lots of things which need to be considered before starting a prawn farming.
Preparing a pond/water body for prawn farming
The water body can be pond,river or parts of field where we can store water for prawn farming.Lets say it as pond for our convenience.The pond should have minimum 2.5 feet depth and rectangular shape is preferred. The bottom of the pond should be cleaned well and PH should be leveled in the range of 7-8.Applying Lime will help to prevent diseases and increase plankton in the pond.Pure water should be available inside the pond.Apply cow dung at the bottom.This will help to increase the fertility of pond and thus increase the aquatic life inside the pond.If the area is a field,then the food availability will be high for prawns.Allow 8-10 days for the pond to develop aquatic life inside it.
Growing and Feeding
Larvae preparation and growing them for one month are done at Hatchery.We can buy good quality one month old freshwater prawns from Hatcheries.Prawns have to be released 10-20 thousands per hector basis.They should be fed 2-3 times a day.Oxygen level of pond water should be monitored and quality water should be ensured.As the prawns grow,more oxygen and food is required in the pond.So the food quantity and aeration should be increased.
Prawns are normally harvested after 6 months.but it depends upon their growing conditions and breed.They will be at an average of 40g per prawn at this time. Initially partial harvesting is done to reduce the density of prawns inside the pond.Then later full harvesting is done by draining the pond and putting a net at the water outlet.The collected prawns are cleaned and processed for marketing.
Local market is always a good customer for freshwater prawns.But exporting will help farmer to get more income.Exporters are invited to the farm before the harvest and contract is signed as bulk.This will help the farmer to avoid marketing headache.By forming co-operative societies,farmers can do direct exporting or can negotiate with exporters for better price.Even direct selling in local market also possible.
There are risks associated with this farming.There are lots of diseases which may wipe out entire prawns in a pond.By consulting our local veterinary doctor or fisheries experts,we can prevent them or take remedies.The pond should be protected from predators and intruders.
Prices of food especially fish items are increasing day by day and more people prefer fish items rather than meats.So the demand and profitability of fish farming will always increase.So this is a good business opportunity for an innovative farmer.
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