1. Success Story

Pearl Farming: This Woman Earns Over Rs 20,00,000 With This Pearl- Fish Farming Model; All Details Inside

Nina develops 10,000 pearls in one cycle, with a mortality rate of 30-40%, and sells them to dealers.

Sugandh Bhatnagar

Albert Einstein once said, “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”, Dr Nina from Odisha’s Balasore district was well aware of this when left her high-paying corporate job to become a pearl farmer in India. A Ph.D. in Zoology, Nina had also previously worked as an Odisha Administrative Officer for 12 years.

Even after working in two quite different professions, she was not scared to take the risk of pearl farming despite understanding the negatives, such as a lack of information and successful case studies.

However, she accepted the challenge and began cultivating pearls in a concrete tank in her garden. She barely made any money for the first two years, but things started to pick up in the third year.

Total earning from pearl farming

Her current revenues from pearl farming range from Rs 10 to Rs 12 lakhs per year from six of her ponds. Aside from that, she makes money by rearing fish beneath the pearl. Having learned about the marine ecosystem in detail during her post-graduation, Nina knew that the two can thrive together.

With wise utilization of space, today, her annual earnings are around Rs 20 Lakh - something she could not have imagined when she first started.

Although, she took a Pearl Farming Training course at the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA) in Bhubaneswar, she only succeeded through trial and error.

Nina believes anyone can acquire technical information from the internet in today’s age but there is still a huge difference when you do it practically.

Pearl farming is an extremely slow and tedious process that requires a lot of patience. The maintenance is a lot, the mortality rate is high and it takes 1.5 years for one pearl to form. So, if you are a beginner do not make this your primary source of income.

Pearl-Fish Farming Model: The Twin Benefits

Nina built a 10X6 foot concrete tank and bought surgical implements, medicines, an ammonia metre, a pH metre, a thermometer, antibiotics, a mouth opener, and a pearl nucleus.

She also bought plankton, which is necessary for aquatic animals to thrive, as well as food for the mussels.

"The mussels are kept in freshwater for 24 hours before being transferred to the pond," she explains. For the next 2-3 weeks, one has to keep an eye on their eating patterns, survival rate, aeration, and water level. After you've identified their growth pattern, you can move on to the next step, which is putting the nucleus into the mussels. Nina keeps the mussels in fruit trays that are placed 3 feet inside the pond. The end of the trays are tied with ropes. The other end of the rope is tied with poles to keep them floating.

In about a year or so, Nina is able to harvest pearls from those mussels.

Meanwhile, she rears carp fish through aquaculture. When caring for the fish, she removes the trays for two hours each day.

"The mussels purify the fish waste in a natural way." The plankton absorbs the fish excreta as they decompose. The mussels consume the plankton. Nina continues, "I also apply lime to the pond to encourage productivity and promote a healthier ecosystem."

Nina develops 10,000 pearls in one cycle, with a mortality rate of 30-40%, and sells them to dealers.

Extends her Knowledge to Others:

Nina, who has been recognized by the CIFA for her outstanding contributions to the promotion of pearl farming, provides training to farmers from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. She has now trained around 400 farmers. At Rs 5,000 she provides a three-day course that includes both technical knowledge and practical experiments.

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