News

Fish Nurseries: Mr. Han’s Promising New Source of Income

21 February 2024

Mr. Oun Han is a young man from the central region of Cambodia, namely from Stoung District in Kampong Thom province.  He is a dedicated farmer who works hard to achieve his goals in life.  He is the father of two young children, a girl and a boy. His spouse teaches kindergarten in the community. Han is from one of the approximately 400 households supported by GIZ’s Sustainable Aquaculture and Community Fish Refuge Management (SAFR) project.

After successfully running a fish farm for approximately 1 year, he made the decision to take advantage of additional financial and technical support from the SAFR project to become a fish nursery farmer. Han was provided with a comprehensive set of small-scale technical aquaculture guidelines, which consisted of support to conduct a ‘scenario analysis’ and develop an aquaculture business strategy, in addition to a subsidy to procure essential equipment and supplies (e.g., water quality test kits, lime for pond preparation, weighing scales, etc.) to establish and develop a fish nursery business.

Han recognized that one of the main challenges to Kampong Thom’s aquaculture sector and his successful fish farming business was the availability of fish fingerlings at reasonable prices and of good quality. He therefore decided to start a small fish nursery farm with three nursing ponds that can produce fish fingerlings for local farmers that are high quality and at good prices.  Every year for about 3-4 months in line with the fish growing seasons of high-demand fish species, he dedicates himself to this business.  He spends a few hours per day tending to his fish nursing farm while his wife assists him with activities such as monitoring the water quality and feeding the young fish. He usually begins pond preparation in late April, stocks the ponds with young fingerlings (“fish fry”), two to four weeks old, procured from local fish hatcheries in mid-May and raises larger fingerlings for sale to ‘grow-out’ fish producers after approximately 1 month.  Depending on the demand for different species, he may produce several harvests per year.

All new businesses can encounter challenges, in his case, a lack of water availability can be a problem which can impact pond water quality. Other challenges are ensuring good quality fish fry given the distance to fish hatcheries in adjacent provinces as well as his business having to compete with imported fingerlings from neighboring Vietnam which are often cheap, but of low quality.

Even with the challenges of being a new business owner and the market realities mentioned above, Mr. Han made a 25% profit in 2023 on his first cycle of fingerling production. According to his business plan, he will continue to expand his farm and his ability to produce high-quality fingerlings at a price that is competitive. In the future, he plans to establish three more ponds, two of which will be utilized as nursing ponds and one as a grow-out pond so he can raise and sell fish as well as fingerlings. In addition to fish and fingerling production, he pledges to provide free technical advice to his clients to maximize their ability to produce high-quality fish and increase their financial profits.

In order to raise his family’s quality of life, Mr. Han and his wife are excited to add this new enterprise to their portfolio income sources, along with growing rice, selling fish and animal feed, and providing their services for transferring rice from the rice fields to village markets.

The SAFR project is helping 400 households with small-scale fish aquaculture as a livelihood option to improve nutrition and food security and raise household incomes.  The project is also making sure that fish farmers have reliable access to high-quality fingerlings locally, which strengthens the long-term viability of the aquaculture sector in the target districts and provinces.

The SAFR project is currently supporting 3 fish farmers to become fish nurseries the same as Mr. Han. SAFR is also working to bring together and form fish producer groups that will become members of the newly-established Cambodia Aquaculturist Association. These networks significantly increase the dissemination and sharing market information as well as enabling farmers to work together to improve their technical capacity for improved fish production.

Mr. Han visits a fish farm and hatchery station run by the Royal University of Agriculture (Cambodia) with other aquaculture farmers.
Mr. Han visits a fish farm and hatchery station run by the Royal University of Agriculture (Cambodia) with other aquaculture farmers.
Mr. Han visits a fish farm and hatchery station run by the Royal University of Agriculture (Cambodia) with other aquaculture farmers. Following his completion of Nursery Management training, Mr. receives crucial supplies from SAFR to begin nursery farming.
Mr. Han visits a fish farm and hatchery station run by the Royal University of Agriculture (Cambodia) with other aquaculture farmers. Following his completion of Nursery Management training, Mr. receives crucial supplies from SAFR to begin nursery farming.
Mr. Han delivers fingerlings to his customers.
Mr. Han delivers fingerlings to his customers.

Contact Person
Samonn Mith

Key Buzzwords
Nursery, small-scale aquaculture, fingerling, household income