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Expertise Needed to Make Aquaculture a Success

6 August 2012, at 1:00am

MALAYSIA - Those wanting to invest in the aquaculture industry must be aware of the big challenges that come their way, said Deputy Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Mohamad Johari Baharum.

He said failure in the industry usually happened because of a lack of expertise in the culture of prawns and fish in freshwater ponds, reports TheStar.

It is a very tricky industry. There has to be constant monitoring all the way covering water quality, diseases, weather and many other factors which could kill the prawns and fish overnight and result in huge losses, he said.

What is needed is good agriculture practice every step of the way to ensure success in the industry, he said.

He mentioned one operator in Sandakan who failed at this high capital venture and converted his land to growing oil palm instead.

Mohamad Johari was at Pantai Merdeka near Sungai Petani in Kedah to visit the aquaculture and hatchery activities run by Vigilant Ventures Sdn Bhd in collaboration with the Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM).

He said he was satisfied with the progress made by the company.

Together with several other LKIM and ministry officials, he also released the Vannamei shrimp fry into one of the ponds. The shrimps can be harvested in three months time.

The 169 hectares of land has been well developed and has some 75 ponds in operation for prawn and fish culture," he said.

Mohamad Johari added that the Malaysian aquaculture industry could emulate the example of Chinese aquaculture company Gouline which was negotiating with the Terengganu government to set up the industry in the state.

According to Mr Johari the company had the technical expertise and was well-versed in all aspects of the business.
Every step from A to Z is monitored including research and development and producing the feed, he said.

He added that the establishment of the company could become a catalyst for the growth of the aquaculture industry in the country.

He said one of the problems the industry was facing was the escalating costs of the feed from suppliers.

However, he said this could be overcome by getting the local fishermen through their association to produce the feed.

The local fishermen must get involved so that they can also benefit from the industry and it can be a win-win situation for all, he said.

Vigilant Ventures chief executive officer Ahmad Faizi Ismail said the company started the Vannamei shrimp culture for domestic consumption last year.

It now produces some 50 metric tonnes of prawns a year.

He said that so far, RM4.5mil had been spent as working capital and plans were being made to inject additional capital to intensify its operations.

LKIM director general Datuk Mohamed Khazin Hamzah said LKIM had privatised a total of five high-impact aquaculture industry zones (HIP-ZIA) in the country.

Besides Kedah, the others are in Sarawak, Melaka, Pahang and Trengganu.

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