By: Noor Eszereen Juferi
Photo by: Noor Azreen Awang
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 - The Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), and the Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (TERAJU) are collaborating on the Kelah (Mahseer) and Native Fishes Cultivation Scheme (KeNFiS) project.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was handed over by TERAJU's chief executive officer, Md. Silmi Abd Rahman, to UPM vice-chancellor, Prof. Dr. Mohd Roslan Sulaiman, witnessed by the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative, Tan Sri Noh Omar, and the Deputy Minister from the Prime Minister's Department (Special Duties), Datuk Mastura Mohd Yazid.
Through the collaboration, UPM received a grant worth RM2.155 million for the freshwater fish farming project, focusing on the kelah fish for five years to help upgrade the B40 group.
UPM will also be involved in technology transfer of the aquaculture field from seed production, water and disease management, as well as nutrition and marketing. The transfer will be led by Dr. Muhammad Fadhil Syukri and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Murni Marlina Abd Karim from the Department of Aquaculture, Faculty of Agriculture, UPM.
UPM’s spin-off companies and private companies will provide essential inputs such as seed preparation, the kelah fish pellets (TropiCarp), medicine and consultations. The kelah fish is expected to reach a marketable size within 30 months of farming, at 1kg/one fish.
Adopting a contract farming concept, selected companies will buy back all the farmed fish at a competitive price directly from the breeders.
Meanwhile, UPM will also prepare fish eggs and fry of native fishes such as the Kerai (lemon-fin barb), Lampam (silver barb) and Patin (Pangas catfish) to the participants for farming and selling at the local market when they reach an appropriate size. This will provide additional income to the participants during the kelah fish farming process.
Among the river fishes, the kelah fish is one of the more expensive fishes in Malaysia, reaching up to RM600/kg. The kelah fish can be found in the Malaysian rivers, especially in the Pahang River (Tor tambroides) and in Sarawak (Tor douronensis).
Due to its high fetching price, the kelah fish has been overfished, and the native population is at risk of extinction soon if no preventive measures are taken.
Several breeders have managed to breed the species commercially and produce the kelah fish fry with high market value for food or ornamental fish.
In addition, valuable native fishes such as the kerai (Puntius daruphani), Lampam (Puntius gonionotus) and Patin Buah (Pangasius nasutus) can also be cultured and have a high potential for commercialisation.
The collaborative project of UPM-TERAJU aims to produce more entrepreneurs in the kelah fish business with high value, which is also expected to contribute to the growth of the export market and create strong ties among the university, researchers and aquaculture breeders for the benefit of the country. - UPM
Date of Input: 09/12/2021 | Updated: 09/12/2021 | hairul_nizam
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