Lachhin Gurung is the operator of Gandaki Rainbow Trout Farm situated in Kaski district. He has been engaged in trout fish farming to promote agro-tourism in Nepal. It is almost one decade ever since Gurung committed himself to the farming of trout fish in Kaski.
Our Highlights Tourism’s Creative Editor Anita Gurung recently interviewed Laschhin Gurung during which he narrated all about the possibility of agro-tourism in Nepal through farming of trout fish.
Gurung divulged that at the beginning, he was associated with tourism in Ghandruk-the pristine Gurung village- where he used to run a tourist lodge at Tadapani.
“Now, I am back to tourism in the form of Agro tourism. In 1941-42, I entered Nepal to do some business here. My wife had got a Hongkong identity, so I entered Hongkong for the education of my children. After my children got educated and sustained, I started this job. One of my friends who just retired from Indian army service is also with me in this venture,” said Gurung.
He had gone to Japan to do a job. But he told me that he found it difficult to survive in Japan and wanted to come to Nepal to see if there was any possibility of starting a new business here.
Then I suggested he come back to Nepal to invest here in trout farming and reap the benefits accordingly. And since then we are together said Gurung.
Gurung told that he had started this Gandaki trout farm by rearing just 3500 trout siblings at the beginning. Meanwhile, he had visited almost all the developed countries of Europe and Japan and then looked for the possibility of starting a new venture here in Nepal in the field of agro farming.
According to Gurung, the trout fish grows well under good climatic conditions and freshwater. It has a different variety. Trout is one of the worldly recognized fish and considered to be a delicious dish among the consumers.
“It needs fresh water, the right shape of the land, suitable temperature, and market for good production. It is not easy like a poultry farm,” said Gurung.
He also indicated that though trout came to Nepal almost 30 years ago, the market demand for it has not been fulfilled so far due to the climate it needs.
It took much time to find consumers for this trout fish. We were forced to sell it for Rs 800 though we wanted to sell it for Rs 1000 at the outset. Jay Dev Bista the trainer of the fishery also bit his fingers when he saw trout fish grown to full size. We faced a lot of difficulties.
We held a press conference and narrated about the value of this fish that why it is so costly. Then there was big media coverage about trout fish in bigger media like Kantipur, Annpurna. Then the consumers of this trout started coming to us and then we started this restaurant.
At first, we used small ponds for trout fish. Now we have more than one lakh trout siblings in water in about 50 ropanies of land. World Food Organization and Nepal Agro Research Center also awarded us for doing our best production of trout fish.
We have also been financed by international financial institutions. We do distribute trout siblings to other farmers. They all come to visit Gandaki Rainbow Trout Farm before beginning any farm-related to fish.
We have provided training to all farmers related to fish farming which are free of cost including lodging and food for the trainees.
Our production is hardly 25 tons. The rest of the production is from others. So annually 45 tons is consumed. We have 28 staff now. We have a value chain. We are the only farm that is satisfied with selling fish in Nepal.
Do tourists see fish only?
People come to eat the dishes of trout fish and fewer people come to see fish and know about fish. This fish is sold more because it is very tasty. A customer at first eats from his eye, then with his nose then with his mouth. So, looks, smell, shape, and taste are the main things of attractions.
Many kinds of people come here to eat trout. There are various items of fish trout. It is found in Gandaki only. The same customer comes again and again to eat the same dish in a different dish.
On being asked how happy he was to have farmed trout fish Gurung replied that he was really happy to do trout farming. For him, Nepal is the best place in the world. In every two hours the climate changes in Nepal. People go out for jobs. But we have now employed 26-28 people here. If we had not started this you would not contact us.
Variety of trout dish found at Gandaki
Seven types of dishes gravy, fry dish or crispy type, soup type known as “gaule jhol”, Grilled type, Steam type, Choila, and Sukuti type of trout fishes are on sale at Gandaki according to Gurung.
He also recalls the day of October month when he was invited by one of the universities dealing with fisheries to talk about the Gandaki trout
Advice for other farmers
Climatic conditions should be chosen at first then the right place for trout. After production, you have to have a value chain too. This is carnivorous. It eats meat like prawns that comes from India. Investment in trout is more. To fix your budget first. Its production follows then. Nepal has a great chance of fish farming. People can be multimillionaires and multibillionaire if invested in Nepal to target domestic customers.
All sectors have many possibilities for tourism. I can see coffee as the next possibility of tourism. Nepal’s coffee is considered to be world no one.
The government is giving a filter loan. But the best thing government should do is not to encourage farmers to go abroad after doing farming and failing due to lack of market for the farm products.
What government can do is to ferry the product of the west to the east and vice versa. Mass production should be done with a mass investment like goat factory not goat farm, trout factory, and not trout farm. The government should take individual vision as collateral and promote agro-tourism.
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