Michell: Umar, what made you decide to start your fishery?
Umar: We started the fish farming business in 2007 for three purposes. With the increasing trend of population growth and the increasing need to fulfill the need of food for the people we a playing a small part in this big picture. It is said that feeding people is like worship and to serve humanity is another big accomplishment. In Pakistan, fish farming business is usually done on small scale without professional skills, without the use of latest technology, just to fulfill the basic feeding needs of the people without considering the whole picture. So it seems necessary to build a large-scale project like ours for better utilization of ours family land and to better use its capabilities. And to get maximum business out of it and for the growth of the business, we opted for the fish farming business.
Michell: Do you come from a family of fishermen?
Umar: Ours family background is agriculture-based and from the point of view of business, we are town developers. We are not related in any way to a fish farming background. It is a new project we opted for and became successful with the help of Almighty Allah.
Michell: Please share with our viewers a bit about your culture.
Umar: Fish farming in Pakistan is a cottage industry. It is a neglected sector. Pakistan`s government hardly provides any type of guidance or help on fish farming. In this business, there usually are unskilled and unprofessional people without proper investment. This minimizes productivity as fish farming is only done on personal interest and without proper technology.
Michell: Who do you typically sell to? Consumers or businesses, or both?
Umar: Pakistan`s fish culture is focused on tradition and varieties in which the popular varieties of fish are Roha (Domra), Thalia, Hybrid Thalia, Mori, Big Head, and Chinese variety silver corb and grass corb are opted for production. These are utilized/sold in the local market. Our production is in 250000 " 300000 fish.
Michell: Was this fishery built by you or did it already exist?
Umar: This project is one of the largest projects of fish farming in Pakistan. This was done by ours personal finance. The area of this project is 450 acres (180 hectares). This project was built under the personal supervision of skilled staff. It is customized for the needs of the project and provides us the benefits of better production, handling, and irrigation as well as better feeding systems and other technical benefits.
Michell: Do you help feed the poor with your fishery?
Umar: Feeding the poor is ours Islamic duty and we provide the percentage of the fish to the poor people for zakat. Also we pay government taxes. These are the two duties which every person should perform as a religious and national duty.
Michell: The fishery business is becoming very popular everywhere. From small to larger upscale ones. What sort of advice can you give to anyone who wants to start their own fishery?
Umar: to fish farmers, I`ll say you will need at 25 acres land as well as the use of the latest technology and qualified staff. Fish farming is risky; needs investment, time, and overall supervision. You are raising a lifeform, so there is a lot of risk involved, but the rewards are adequate for your risk and investment. It is a full-time profession and there is no timing for this professional; so if you are going to start this business, keep this in mind. Overall, it is a good industry worldwide. Fish Farming business is a profitable business. It needs a good deal of personal attention, without which it is a failure. In Pakistan, currently, it is done on small scale with minimum yield. But it needs latest technology for maximum yield in order to take production to the scale of a major industry. In Pakistan, people are producing fish without proper technology and technical staff. They are like crude gems; if we collected them and provided them with proper support and supervision, they could compete with the global giants of fish farming business.
Michell: What are your future goals for your business?
Umar: For our future, we are trying to improve the quality of the fish by introducing new species of fish, which are we imported Tilapia from Thailand. It increases the overall acres efficacy from 800 to 6000. And we have imported sea bass and catfish to introduce new tastes. We are experimenting with different things and expanding our horizon. Our dream is to introduce fish farming as a new industry in Pakistan.
Michell: Thank you Umar so much for your interview and we wish you all the best.