Fish farming brings smile to Halim

Md Aminul Islam with Andrew Eagle
 He received national award for fish cultivation
Sometimes a youth’s education doesn’t run smoothly. Sometimes there are unavoidable  obstacles which cause delay, such that it can take a little initiative to continue on the road to high school graduation.

When, in 2004, Md Abdul Halim from Banshati area of Mymensingh’s Muktagacha upazila was forced to discontinue his study as a Secondary School Certificate examinee at a local high school due to financial hardship his future looked bleak. But rather than giving in to hopelessness, he instead started a fish farm.

“About two years after leaving school I started the Shah Sultan-Shahjalal Rupali Matshya Hatchery in Muktagachha,” says Halim, now 28-years-old. His father Ahmed Ali inspired him to try, says the father of two.

“With a little investment I started cultivating fish in 8 ponds on 2 acres. I chose tilapia, pabda, gulsa, shingi, carp and eels as fish stocks,” he says.

What began as a modest attempt has led to unimagined success. Having kept an eye on the quality of the fish fry produced at his hatchery, the demand for his fry increased rapidly and soon he was taking orders from beyond the district.

Abdul Halim in Muktagachha upazila under Mymensingh district. PHOTO: STAR

Nowadays he processes orders from traders from many parts of the country including Sylhet, Chittagong, Bogra, Khulna, Narsingdi and Rajshahi. His business, which now includes 35 ponds on 12 acres, is worth more than Tk 70 lakh per annum excluding costs, he says.

“The scientists of the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute in Mymensingh have  always been very helpful,” says Halim when asked the secret of his success. “They gave  me training in different aspects of fish cultivation and for the various species.”

In 2014 he also participated in a 10-day training session on aquaculture from a university  in the Philippines.

Moreover, Halim has won a prestigious national award for his fish farming efforts. On 20 July this year he was honoured with a gold medal, crest and certificate at the inaugural Fisheries Week session addressed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Khamarbari Krishibid Institution.

“It’s a rare honour indeed to receive a prize from the prime minister,” Halim says. “The prize has inspired me to be even more dedicated to my work.”

“Halim’s award is not only an honour for him,” says another of Muktagachha’s fish farmers Shahidul Islam, “It brings recognition to all the district’s fish farmers, and can  help us attract even better support from the concerned ministries to boost the sector  further.”

Fish farming has a long history in Muktagachha, where it began to take root as an industry in the 1980s. Mymensingh and Muktagachha, Bhaluka, Trishal, Phulbaria and Gouripur upazilas have been fish cultivation leaders nationally for the past 30 years, locals observed.

Senior fishery officer in Muktagachha Md Habibur Rahman Talukder says, “I am proud of Halim who won the gold medal from my nomination. His success will surely inspire others.”

More recently however, Halim’s thoughts have returned to that unfinished education.

“Through the Open University I am preparing for my Secondary School Certificate examination again,” he says.

Source: The Daily Star. Date: August 10 2016