Demand for cultured pearls is rapidly increasing. Due to this, pearl farming in India is constantly gaining popularity. The best thing about pearl farming is the less investment and the higher returns.
Pearls have great demand in national and export markets. You can easily pursue pearl farming subsequently with fish farming and other commercial aquaculture activities.
Talking about pearl farming profit, you can expect to earn 50-60% from what you invest. Furthermore, if you acquire the right pearl farming training and tools, you can expect to earn even 100% profit — but that’s a long road.
So if you are interested in starting your own pearl farming maybe because of a hobby or serious earning potential, here’s your ultimate guide. An ultimate guide to:
- What is pearl farming in India?
- Benefits of pearl farming
- How to do pearl farming business?
- Pearl Farming Subsidy, Licences, and more
- Where to get the best pearl farming training in India?
- Pearl Farming profits and costs
So, let’s dive in…
What is Pearl Farming?
Pearl farming is a process of cultivating freshwater cultured pearls on the farm. For almost 2-5 years, farmers nucleate and take care of oysters to develop a pearl.
Benefits of Pearl Farming in India – Why to Farm Them?
Of all available pearls, 99% are cultured ones. They are derived from farming through mussels and oysters. Moreover, Odisha ranks first in terms of Pearl farming in India.
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Here are a few advantages of pearl farming in India:
1. Has a High Market Value
Best thing about farming pearls is that these natural gemstones are in high demand. Unlike gold and silver, their prices don’t fluctuate that often.
- The cost of cultured freshwater pearls is about INR 250/gram.
- While the cost of cultured saltwater pearls in India is about Rs 450 per carat.
2. Easy Maintenance & Storage
Once cultured, these light-weighted pearls can be kept for any period of time. They are highly non-perishable. And can be used at any point in time for creating ornaments or adorning clothes.
3. Less Labour costs, Higher Employability
Pearl farming is less labour intensive as the process is structured and requires limited manpower. Which in turn, reduces labour costs big times. And if you acquire the best skills and knowledge from pearl farming training institute, the chances of getting employed are quite high. And since this type of commercial farming offers a huge return, the allocation of income is quite high too.
4. Minimum Expenditure & Inputs Required
Pearl farming requires limited setup and investment costs. The resources, inputs or methods are easily available at minimum expenses. With the right training of pearl farming business in India, you can learn to plan resources and optimise their costs. With judicious planning, you can make the most out from your invested sum.
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Best Pearl Farming Training in India
CIFA (Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture) under the Indian council of agriculture research provides national training on “Freshwater Pearl Culture”. The training helps small marginal farmers develop the entrepreneurial skills required for setting up businesses for freshwater pearl farming in India.
There are other recognised pearl farming training institutes that provide complete technical training on how to breed pearls. Here’s a schedule showing the name of popular training institutes in India. You can enquire about pearl farming training fees and the concepts they teach.
|Marathwada pearl culture (MOTI) and Training centre
|Freshwater Pearl Farming Training Institute
|Wizard Pearl Farming Centre
|2 days (Practical + Theoretical application)
|Swastik Pearls Farming and Training Centre
|Pearl Farming Training (Krishi Vigyan Kendra)
|Chandangaon, Madhya Pradesh
|Pearl Farming Training & Research
Now you know the best pearl farming institute in India, let’s explore how to start a pearl farming business in India.
How to Start Pearl Farming in India? – Complete Process
Here are a few steps involved in starting pearl farming in India. Let’s review these steps to help you further establish a pearl farming business plan in India.
Pro Tip: You can read our article on frequently asked questions in farming.
Step 1 – Site Selection & Setting Pearl Farm
You have to select the site and get its water approved by government-approved laboratories. CIFA-approved laboratories are ideal as they are genuine and reliable. Their test will help you decide whether the water quality is good for pearl farming or not.
Step 2 – Obtaining Pearl Oyster Stock
After site selection, it’s important to obtain the oyster stock through the following methods:
- Spat Collection
In this method, you can collect the young swimming oyster larvae called spat. These larvae are in a perfect state for grafting and can be easily attached to any surface.
- Hatchery Production
You can also refer to hatchery-produced spat if they are available in your area and are reasonably priced.
- Collect Adult Oysters
You can collect adult oysters that are available at reasonable prices. However, they have more mortality risk.
Step 3 – Drill & Hang Oysters
Once you have acquired the stock of oysters, keep them in the approved water site. You can hang them in chaplets, which are similar to circlets or garlands. You can place them in big net containers.
Step 4 – Grafting
You can use the artificial method of grafting to develop pearls. You can plant an artificial nucleus in a pearl oyster’s tissue that will develop into a pearl.
Step 5 – Pearl Development Process
Once you implant the nucleus, it irritates the oyster. And as a result, the oyster covers itself with a calcium carbonate layer. It will take 12-24 months for pearls to develop. During this transition, take proper care, feed them timely, and prevent them from any kind of infection.
Step 6 – Marketing of Pearls
Once you have pearls produced, ensure you market them to the right market. You can endorse them to jewellery, cosmetics, and garment brands. Have a marketing strategy in place. And if you have a good quality stock of pearls, you won’t have to bid hard to trade them in the market. Their quality will speak for themselves.
Pearl Farming Profits & Costs Analysis
At the lower end, a single oyster is priced at Rs 20-30. And a single oyster pearl of 1 to 20 mm can cost between Rs 300-1500. Pearls have huge demand in jewellery, cosmetics, paint formulations, and adorning clothes.
The initial investment for pearl farming would be close to ₹20,000 to ₹25,000. With this much investment, you can earn an income of up to Rs 300,000. The return on investment would be 50-60% of the expenditure allocated initially.
Note that starting a pearl farm is easy but requires a long time commitment. You have to be patient enough and wait until a maximum of 5 years to see a steady income.
Costs Variables Involved In Pearl Farming
- Costs of obtaining oysters through 3 popular methods – spat collection, purchase of hatchery-produced spat, and collection of adult oysters.
- Cost to purchase boats.
- Types of equipment and supplies.
- Labour costs.
- Cost to buy SCUBA gears.
- Set up costs for farm structure (lines, rafts, floats, etc.).
- Fee of Technical Advisor
- Marketing Expenses
- Grafting technician cost
- Licensing cost
- Licensing cost (if you want to scale this commercially)
Cost Assumption for Pearl Farming – Let’s Estimate
|Pearl Farming Project Area
|½ to ¾ acres
|Cultured Technique for Pearl Farming
|Density for stocking
|Timeline for culture
Subsidy for Pearl Farming in India
As a part of the blue revolution scheme in the fisheries sector, the Central Government will provide subsidies to Indian fisheries. The subsidy amount will be 50% of the total cost of setting up a pond for pearl cultivation.
The aim of this subsidy is to help farmers increase their income. By investing Rs. 25000, the farmers will be able to earn an income of up to Rs. 3,00,000.
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Eligibility, Documents & Applying Process for Pearl Farming Subsidy
The applicant must be an Indian citizen and a farmer by occupation. He/she must have acquired knowledge through pearl farming training in India.
Following are the documents important for subsidy application:
- Domicile Certificate
- Category Certificate
- Aadhaar Card
- Bank Account Details
- Pond area and farming details
- Passport size photographs
How to do Pearl Farming at Home?
You can easily do pearl farming in a bucket or fish tank at home. The process is called Recirculating Aquaculture System. Here are a few steps you need to follow to start pearl farming at home.
- Arrange two fish tanks, and place them over each other. Drill a hole in the tank above so that water can flow to the tank below.
- Add an air pump that will regulate water flow and temperature. The pump system, once fitted, should be run a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening for 7 consecutive days.
- Ensure the single tank dimensions as Length – 3 feet, Width – 2.5 feet, and depth – 1.5 feet. This dimension can easily accommodate 50 mussels at a time.
- Give required minerals and vitamins to mussels. Make sure the algae you are providing to mussels are of good quality. As their quality will impact the quality of pearls cultivated at the end.
- As an estimate, setting this up will cost you a maximum of Rs 20,000. It is a good investment, given the profit volume, you can achieve in the end.
Please note that if you are planning to trade pearls commercially, you should apply for a licence.
Licences and Registrations Needed to Setup Pearl Farm
- Permissions from fisherman’s cooperative society
- Certificate from CIFA (Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture)
- GST Registration
- Land and Lease agreements
Pearl farming in India is commercially viable and profitable. Given the demand for pearls, higher employability, and huge returns, pearl farming is the next best thing to pursue.
Pearls have a huge demand outside the jewellery segment. They have equal demand even in cosmetics, medicines, and the clothing industry. With proper licensing and pearl farming training, you can stand up a profitable business model.
However, note that pearls require 12-24 months to develop. So initially, you will have to keep patience to start trading it. And make sure you calculate your costs as explained above to avoid any sudden expenses.
On a single project, with time, dedication and resources, you can stand to earn 50-60% of the return. Pearl farming is definitely a profitable business model that anyone with the willingness to start a business can think about.
Frequently Asked Questions
Que. Is pearl farming profitable in India?
Ans. Pearl farming can help earn income up to Rs 10-12 lakhs, in which Rs 8 lakhs could be the profit.
Que. What is pearl farming called?
Ans. Pearl farming is the process of cultivating freshwater cultured pearls on a farm.
Que. What is the best season for pearl cultivation?
Ans. Autumn season from October to December is the best time to collect oysters/mussels from water bodies or local ponds.
Que. Is there any pearl farming training by the Government?
Ans. CIFA (Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture) under ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) provides technical training to rural farmers, students, and youths.
Que. How much is pearl farming profit in India?
Ans. From a single project of initial investment of 4 lakhs, you can expect to get a return of 50-60%.
Que. Where are pearls found in India?
Ans. Pearls are found in Gujarat State coast in the Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of Mannar along the Tamilnadu State coast.
Que. How to start a pearl farming business?
Ans. To start pearl farming business, select the location, decide the investment, resources to culture pearls, get CIFA authorised certificate and license, and acquire the right training.