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Fish farmers urged to use Biofloc to increase yield


January 22, 2021

LAHORE: Fish farmers could cut the cost of farming by half if they used Biofloc technology (BFT), which not only improves quantity, but also the quality of the production, an industry official said.

“Traditional fish farmers are producing Tilapia fish at the rate of Rs160/kilogram, while this fish produced through BFT costs only Rs83 per kilograms,” said Saad Yousaf, owner of Lasani Organic Farm, while talking to The News.

“Though, this technology is 7-8 years old and very popular in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and some other countries, it is relatively new in Pakistan and at present accounts for not even one percent of the total fish production of the country.”

This fish (Tilapia) was organic as 54 percent of the fish feed in BFT farms was the bacteria that develop in the water and 46 percent is the other feed, Yousaf said adding that two cycles of six months each could be harvested under BFT, while in traditional farming, farmers were harvesting a 9 months’ cycle.

“Traditional farmers have to vacate their ponds before winter as fish reared here are of warm water, while in BFT we can control the temperature,” he said.

The modern fish famer said that a tub constructed under BFT on one marla of land could host 1,000 kilogram of fish, while in traditional method the same quantity would require at least one acre of land.

He explained that only omnivorous fish such as Tilapia and Pangasius could be produced under BFT technique as they eat bacteria unlike the traditional local varieties.

Yousaf said the government should encourage youth to go for BFT fish farming by extending soft loans and imparting technical guidance as it can meet the increasing demand of fish meat by using less land and water.

BFT is the latest in aquaculture for breeding fish by using minimum resources like water, land, and feed besides helping preserving nature thus producing fish at lower cost as compared to traditional techniques.

It uses a technique to improve the water quality in aquaculture through balancing the amount of carbon and nitrogen, which help in producing proteinaceous feed in the water. This proteinaceous feed becomes an auto-generated best feed for the fish species and helps them to grow faster.

Biofloc Technology (BFT) is an environment-friendly technique used for the production of situ microorganisms. These microorganisms are produced as a hygienic food for the fish species. Because of this technique, fish farming requires zero or minimum exchange of water.