"My farm produces top-grade pearls that sell at a good price"
Although pearl farming is relatively new in Bangladesh, it is proving to be lucrative in the district of Jhenaidah.
A lot of young people are being drawn to this type of aquaculture. Pearl farming is giving individuals a new path to prosperity.
With his farm in Panchlia village, Dr Nazrul Islam, who received his doctorate from Shizuoka University in Japan, set the standard.
The agro-entrepreneur cultures freshwater pearls from a local species of oysters, procured from fishermen for Tk. 3-5 each.
The best oysters are then chosen for reproduction in Dr Islam’s pond, which is home to approximately 15,000 molluscs.
According to Dr Nazrul, pearl farming is a promising industry in Bangladesh.
Up to October 2022, Dr Nazrul sold pearls worth Tk. 10 Lakh (£8,300). He estimates making another Tk. 12 Lakh (£9,900) by July 2023.
Dr Nazrul has trained over 2,000 young men in various regions of the nation.
Fish cultivation and pearl farming do not cost extra money as oysters only eat phytoplankton and algae. They are also fairly easy to manage.
Dr Nazrul said: “In 6-8 months it is possible to produce pearls.”
He added that it is a women-friendly business.
Bangladesh has been known to have a demand for pearls, commonly used to make jewellery and buttons but also added to medicines and cosmetic products.
Dr Nazrul continued: “My farm produces top-grade pearls that sell at a good price through online platforms, such as social media, while companies like Aarong and local ornament makers buy them too.”
Dr Nazrul has already gotten in touch with business organisations in Dhaka for wholesale due to the demand for his pearls.
The agro-entrepreneur received his degree from The University of Rajshahi in 1999, and the following year he finished his post-graduate studies.
Later, Nazrul earned his PhD in fisheries from the same university in 2008. However, after failing to realise his aim of working for this institution, he travelled to Japan in 2010 to pursue his studies there.
He attended Shizuoka University until 2013, when he returned with a doctorate in science before beginning work at the Japan International Cooperation Agency in 2014.
Dr Nazrul’s department was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He later established ‘Ryan Organic Agriculture’ on 3.3 acres of land.
Dr Islam went on to say that he will make the district a pearl farming hub by expanding such activities.
In addition, he aims to remove the unemployment problem and empower women in the region.
He added: “For this, multiple training centres are needed for the smooth training of jobless youths and women.”