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AGRICULTURE REPORT - How to Become a Fish Farmer  - 2004-11-01

Broadcast: November 2, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Aquaculture can supply protein-rich foods by simple methods and low-cost equipment. Aquaculture is the production of food from animals and plants that live in water.

One popular environment for aquaculture is a small pond surrounded by land, away from the ocean. Fish such as carp and tilapia are produced in this way.

Twenty-five percent of the pond should be deeper than everywhere else. Auburn University Professor David Bayne says the deepest areas should be no more than two meters deep. Everywhere else should be no less than one meter deep.

You can plant grass on the bottom. But remove all trees and bushes from the bottom and sides, in order to keep the level of oxygen high enough for the fish.

You should also remove all rocks. And you should remove all trees within nine meters of the edge of the pond. This is so leaves will not fall in. Leaves can use up a lot of the oxygen.

You can feed the fish many kinds of foods. These include cassava, sweet potatoes, banana and maize. Other foods include coffee and wastes from fruit-processing factories. Feed the fish only as much as they can eat in one day.

Aquaculture requires good quality water, and you must know how much is available at all times.

One way to make a pond is to build a dam along a waterway in a small valley. Another way is to build up dirt all the way around an area above ground. If you dig a hole, it will be hard to drain.

Professor Bayne says you should put a pipe at the bottom of the deepest part of the pond. This pipe goes through the dam or the dirt and comes out at the surface. The pipe should be big enough to empty the pond in what Professor Bayne calls a reasonably short period of time.

You can harvest the fish by letting some of the water escape from the pipe. Then the larger fish can be caught by hand or with nets. There should be enough water left for the fish that remain in the pond. Fish can also be harvested with nets from the top of the pond.

You can harvest the fish at any time, but it is best done in cool weather. If necessary, the pond can also be dried out at this time to fix any problems.

You can get more information about aquaculture from Volunteers in Technical Assistance. This group is on the Web

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Gary Garriott. This is Gwen Outen.