Aquaculture – Making an Existing Industry Better
Uzbekistan is lucky to be blessed with some of the key resources needed for fish farming, particularly in its foothill regions that make up 25 per cent of the nation’s countryside, and the potential to streamline and expand the nation’s existing fish farming industry is significant. The raw resources needed to enhance this industry already exists in Uzbekistan, so all that’s needed to make fish farming even stronger is improved national knowledge about the field.
One of UNDP’s Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) initiatives focuses on the development of aquaculture in Uzbekistan, by spreading awareness of advanced aquaculture methods while helping to improve the efficiency of existing farms. Within this project, the workshop ‘Trout – A Prospective Business Opportunity for Uzbek Farmers’ was held on the 21st of June, in partnership with the Institute of the Gene Pool of Flora and Fauna, of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences and the Council of Farmers of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.
The event provided all technical and scientific information required for establishing fish farms in Uzbekistan, specifically for the profitable rainbow trout species, including details about markets and business operation. Entrepreneur Ahmad Tangrikulov from the Surkhandarya region, who a year ago established the ‘Nur Ahmad’ fish and rabbit farm, participated in the Tashkent workshop alongside business people, farmers and government representatives in order to obtain expert advice and make business contacts.
“I am very interested in everything about fish farming and the related technology, as both fish and meat can be parts of a healthy diet,” Mr. Tangrikulov said. Indeed, fish is an important source of protein, calcium and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. “In terms of traditional foods our diet always includes lamb and beef, and many of our dishes are usually fried. Fish products give a healthy alternative to the public and will generate a good profit, which will go to improving methods of production.”
There are many national benefits that came come from fish farming. First and foremost the industry is particularly environmentally-stable. By creating a steady flow of high-quality product to markets, year round and at a set price, fish farming takes pressure off wild fish resources in fresh-water rivers. Newer-proposed fish farms with smaller tanks and a minimal amount of water per fish mean that less water is needed, and the water put through farms can later be used for irrigation and agricultural purposes.
Establishing effective fish farms in Uzbekistan is a relatively simple process. The required facilities can be constructed from readily-available materials, which mean they can be established with local resources, and at an economic price. Quality food for farmed trout is available for import from experienced international producers, an expensive but cost-effective option, while farmers also have the option of producing and using their own feed.
For farmers like training participant Salim Soatov, who came to the event in order to learn additional skills and establish his enterprise, fish farming is a useful and cost-effective agricultural alternative.
“I am very interested in fish farming and modern technology, and I have long wanted to be involved in this type of training,” Mr. Soatov said. “We plan to engage business partners in establishing a farm near Tuyabuguzskoe Reservoir, not far from the capital.”
UNDP GEF SGP in Uzbekistan pilots projects that are both economically profitable and environmentally sustainable. To read more about its projects, visit its page on the UNDP Uzbekistan website, and its individual website.