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Fish business booms, farmers desperate for fry to fill their ponds

Fish business booms, farmers desperate for fry to fill their ponds

The govt is urging fish breeders to increase production of fry as the number of farmers wanting to raise fish has doubled over a year

THE government has urged the Kingdom's fish breeders to increase production of fish fry due to rapidly increasing demand from farmers who have started raising fish in a bid to augment their incomes.

"Now more than 10,000 families need more than ten million baby fish [fry]  to raise in their ponds and their rice fields," said Nao Thuok, director of the Fisheries Administration, adding this represented a two-fold increase from 2007.

He said the fish-farming industry is beginning to attract serious foreign investment, citing as an example a Hungarian investor who is planning to invest some $50 million in fish farms and a fish-filleting factory next year.

Last year fish breeders produced more than five million baby fish that were snapped up by an estimated 6,000 families across the country, Nao Thuok said.

"There are currently 148 baby fish markets nationwide and the government is planning to open another 24 to make it easy for farmers to buy baby fish."

Doung Kosal, 45, a villager in Sambour village, Kampong Cham province, said many farmers in his area are keen to start raising fish but need the government to facilitate the procurement of fry.

Big business

Hav Piseth, director of Aquaculture Division at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that villagers are eager to raise fish in their rice fields to increase their income. "Raising fish helps reduce rural poverty," he said.

Kaing Yu Meng, owner of the Oceans King Company, said that this year he has released five million baby fish into his 20-hectare fish farm in Kampong Speu province and 100 hectare farm in Koh Kong province.

"I have more than two millions baby fish to sell to local farmers, and I plan to start exporting about 1,000 tonnes of fish fillets to America, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong," Kaing Yu Meng said. "I also plan to spend about half a million dollars to build a fish-food factory in Phnom Penh to reduce fish-food imports."

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