The Shiblee Hatchery & Farms cage culture fish farming project in Bangladesh is helping 100 landless families to become fish farmers of caged, cultured tilapia beside the Adhamanki River.
The Shiblee Hatchery Ltd. is assisted by the Business Innovation Facility (BIF), a pilot project funded by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID). BIF is managed by Pricewaterwaterhousecoopers LLP in alliance with the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP).
Employing a contract farming, an agreement between buyers and the farm producers, approach to production the Shiblee Hatchery has been able to provide financial support to farmers participating in the cage culture fish farming — the practice of rearing fish in cages. This project employs the use of 30-meter by 8-meter bamboo fish cages, which each farmer is responsible for maintaining in order to rear as many as 500 tilapia per cage. Farmers are provided with mesh, cages, and fish feed. According to its Project Profile, Shiblee aims to provide fish farmers with hatchlings, technical advice, and access to finance, equipment, and a secure market for the fish. Training extends to cage construction, fish husbandry, disease recognition, credit planning, and marketing.
BIF describes the primary commercial goal of this project as being able to expand sales of quality tilapia fish — they assert that the cage culture farming model has potential to scale up quickly. BIF details that, long-term, this project offers the commercial opportunities of expanding to other fish and to developing a quality seal that can be applied more widely, which could foster growth for the Shiblee Hatchery. BIF estimates that each fish farmer could earn USD$100-USD$150 each six-month cycle of farmed fish. The paramount challenge of this project is developing locally raised fish food in order to promote increases in income potential.
According to BIF, “The aim is to expand the project to 200 farmers after the first year of operation.” Professor David Rogers, Professor of Freshwater Biology at the University of Derby and contributor to this project, maintains a blog pertaining to this venture and asserts, “This project will empower extremely poor landless families to commercially produce fish from waters released by the Bangladesh Government under license for cage farming.”