The COVID pandemic forced some professionals to resign, some were made redundant, while some changed careers, some were simply out of work because the world had been temporarily closed. The story of these two young people in Darjeeling is also similar.
Teachers by profession, Dawa Sherpa and Prayash Rai taught science at a school in Sikkim. They launched the “Trout Fish Farm” initiative after the schools have been closed indefinitely and they were out of work, as reported by The Voice of Sikkim.
They started farming with two motivations: one, to support themselves and two, to provide work for unemployed youth in the region. The farm is located in Bara Hatta, Rimbick is the very first “Rainbow Trout Fish” farm in Darjeeling.
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a fresh, cold water fish. It is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B12 and omega 3 fatty acids. It is rich in potassium, phosphorus and selenium.
Sold at Rs 800 per kg
Dawa, originally from Rimbick and Prayash, is owned by Dajey Tea Estate. Initially, his farm started with a small investment and started raising 3,500 trout. The amount of fish has now increased and is now generating a good profit for them.
The duo now want to make more aquariums and breed up to 10,000 fish at a time. They currently sell rainbow trout from their farm at Rs 800 per kg while in other outlets it is available at Rs 1000 per kg.
Fish farming only for colder regions
Fish can be ordered fresh from stores located across Darjeeling. “Since breeding can only be done in cooler places, where the temperature varies between 9 and 15 degrees. The whole Darjeeling region can be a suitable place for rainbow trout fishing” , explains Prayash Rai.
However, he also adds that breeding also requires good quality cold water. Dawa Sherpa also thinks that if people see it as an alternative to employment and turn into entrepreneurs, then Trout Farm can be a good source of income and can even solve the unemployment problem in the hills to some extent.