Saturday, 13 October 2012

A Day At A Fish Farm

An invitation to have lunch at a fish farm is not something that we get frequently. Having had one, I did not want to miss the opportunity to know more about this venture apart from having fresh grilled and fried fish for lunch with a number of close friends. So, I went to Raub, around half-an-hour drive away from Kuala Lumpur to honour the invitation from a friend.

Thousands of Talapia being fed
With a growing population, the demand for fresh fish will never go down. I suppose this was the opportunity that was seen by the owner of this fish farm in Raub, Pahang. The farm breeds mainly Keli and Talapia, among the popular fish in Malaysia.

To create a niche, the fish are only feed with pallet-based food, no leftovers. The fish are moved into a number of ponds, land-based and cement-based, to ensure the quality of the fish. Before the fish are harvested, the cement-based pond would ensure the land-based taste is removed, leaving a pure fish-taste for the consumers to enjoy.

The final cement-based ponds
However, such venture is also exposed to certain risks such as water pollution, attack by bacteria and even electricity failure as the fish will not survive long if the oxygen supply is cut. Perhaps, such risk factors deter many entrepreneur from going into fish farming in a big way. On the other hand, those who are brave enough to venture in this business would over time able to manage and mitigate most of these risks and would be rewarded with reasonable returns.

If an entrepreneur goes into a venture without the willingness to take risk, then the person should not be an entrepreneur in the first place. Over reliance on assistance from setting up, operation and marketing would not be helpful. By nature, profit is the result of risk taking and once this is forgotten, the whole entrepreneurial journey is worthless. Off course if one goes into a business because of favour when the business is just a conduit for transfer of wealth from public coffer to individual coffers, then it is a different story all together.

For fish farming, the understanding of market is important as the longer the fish are kept in the ponds, the higher the production cost would be and margins could be eroded easily. In our context how many times have we heard producers demanding for the government to be the guarantor in buying their produce? These people are not real entrepreneurs or they were groomed to be people who are pretending to be in business just to clock in KPIs for relevant agencies. How much more faking do we need when we are competing with more efficient economies? 

At this time of the year the farm is also the host for migratory birds from Europe. Sensing our presence, the birds flew across the farm in many formation, as if they want to provide us with a free performance. If well documented and promoted, this could also be another tourist attraction for Raub and even Malaysia.

A formation-flight by migratory birds from Europe
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