Pearl farming business is one of the most lucrative businesses which is evolving in many parts of the country. Due to the huge turnover involved, more and more people are adopting the cultured pearl industry both in the rural and urban hubs.
However, commercial pearl farming requires investment, which is quite higher than most other businesses. Though lucrative, producing quality pearls requires thorough knowledge about pearl cultivation and implementation of proper methods.
Thus, the budding entrepreneurs are advised to seek training from successful pearl farmers in order to practically understand the market and make the pearl business a success.
The pearl industry is mostly thriving among the jewelers, exporters and other fancy needs, which is why, pearl farming business is constantly growing and is on the rise. Thus, if you want to know how to start a profitable pearl farming business, here is a detailed guide on everything you need to know.
What is a Pearl?
One of the most frequently asked questions is, what is a pearl and how are pearls formed in oysters? Pearls are shiny round beads which are mostly used for making pearl jewelry. It is both in high demand and is of great value in the market.
The rounder and shinier the pearl is, the greater is its value. Pearl is mainly formed by Nucleation. In this, a foreign object needs to be implemented artificially in the pearl oyster, henceforth which, the oyster starts secreting nacre to surround the foreign object or the particle.
Over the years, the nacre keeps on accumulating and forms a shiny hard substance. This substance then needs to be shaped and polished in order to give it a shape and enhance the shine, finally forming a pearl.
Types of Pearls
There are several types of pearls available in the market. Though there is a huge demand for perfectly round pearls, the natural pearls are usually available in various sizes and shapes.
As per the shape, pearls are available in button, oval, baroque, semi-round, double boulder, drop with circles like form, and many more. Apart from this, the various other types of pearls are:
- Cultured freshwater pearls
- Natural pearls
- Saltwater cultured pearls
- Keshi pearls
- Mabe pearls
- Japanese pearls
- Cultured pearls
Among these, pearl cultivation is mostly common for the initial three pearl types, as these are responsible for producing pearls with great market value.
Why is Pearl Farming Business the Best?
Pearl farming business involves relatively less manual labor during the forming process, minus the polishing, harvesting, and preparing part. Pearl grows naturally in the marine molluscs which is why it is one of the easiest businesses to adopt.
There is always a huge demand for pearl jewelry among people, which is why the cultivation of pearl oysters is highly favored. Apart from that, there is a huge demand for pearls in both native and foreign countries. Thus, export options are always open and highly profitable.
Investment Required for Pearl Harvesting
Pearl farming business requires a considerable amount of investment, especially in the initial years.
Pearl cultivation involves several steps and is time consuming in the early years. While starting a pearl farming business, it takes two to three years for the first cultivation to be fruitful. Also, the return from the initial pearl cultivation is not that profitable.
The sole motive of growing pearl oysters is to cultivate top quality pearls for lucrative returns. However, in the beginning, the cultivators only get 5-7% of high quality pearls in return. This, however, gets increased in the later years. Hence, the beginners should only start the business after getting prepared with sufficient investment to get through the first few years.
The investment for pearl farming business is mainly required for ensuring sufficient supply of pearl oysters, equipment, various other supplies needed for cultivation, establishing the pearl farm, taxes, and gears and other labor charges involved.
Since oysters and pearls are directly connected, one has to obtain quality oysters to produce striking pearls in the end.
How to Start Pearl Farming Business?
Now that we have an idea about the investment and the basic, preliminary knowledge about the pearl industry, let us now understand the requirements and necessities for starting the pearl farming business.
Location of Pearl Farm
The location of the pearl farm for starting the business is the most important necessity. This is because, it directly affects the quality of the pearls and the expected profit from the business.
Any suitable location in the ponds, lakes, rivers or secured location in the sea nearer to the shore can be used for pearl farming. The farm should be completely secured from thefts of any kind. Apart from that, the pearl farm should also attract minimum disturbance.
Pearl Farm Set-Up
Pearl farm set-up is the next significant step which cannot be ignored. The set-up should highly focus on providing the necessary platform to the pearl oysters so that they remain undisturbed and can produce top quality pearls.
This will not be possible if the oysters keep on dislocating. Thus, three types of techniques are used either individually or in combination so as to provide the required ground for effective pearl cultivation. These are:
- Tahitian longlines
- Underwater trestles
Pearl Farm Management
Management of the pearl farm directly affects the pearl cultivation. In order to obtain top quality pearls, one needs to cater to both oysters and pearls equally.
The oyster shells should be cleaned at frequent intervals in order to prevent moss build up, and the process should be done with extreme care. The cultivator should keep a keen eye on the number of pearl oysters initially planted because any missing oyster can put a dent on your profits.
Availability of regular supplies is extremely necessary for proper functioning of pearl farming business. Just like the crops on field and cattle in the farm, the pearl oysters need their own supplies and nutrition which cannot be compromised. This also ensures the production of valuable pearls which are in high demand.
So, one should maintain a contract with the suppliers and retailers for unhindered supply of oyster nutrition. Apart from this, the oysters should be catered to, from time to time in order to ensure their healthy growth.
Any kind of disease or sudden death of pearl oyster should be immediately taken care of so as to save the other members of the pearl farm.
Preparation Before Nucleation
Before nucleation, pearls oysters need to be prepared thoroughly. The preparation is mainly centered on placing the pearl oysters and keeping them affixed to a specific position. This is done by using several kinds of fixers like baskets, chaplets, trays which either float or are submerged.
This is done to prevent the oysters from being washed away with the water currents. Also, the oysters need to be cleaned at frequent intervals as well, every time they are transferred to a new tray or basket.
The grafting process should be done with extreme care. Grafting should only be initiated when the pearl oysters have attained a length of 12cm to 15cm. This is the average size of healthy pearl oysters which also guarantees the formation or production of high quality pearls.
If the size of pearl oysters is lesser than the above mentioned size, the quality of the real pearls shall be compromised. Eventually, this will mean lesser profit and lesser annual return altogether.
Harvesting of Pearls
One of the most important and the final aspect of moti farming as called in India is the process of harvesting. Similar to grafting, harvesting is also dependent on the size and thickness of the pearl in order to obtain high quality pearls.
Pearl harvesting should only be done when the nacre gets a thickness of 2mm to 3mm. Harvesting with thinner nacre will eventually mean less profitable pearls. This is because, the thin nacre will wither off during processing and polishing, and thus will get rejected in the market.
Keeping records is the final step of pearl farming business. Every farmer should keep a detailed record of the pearl oysters initially planted, the area covered during each pearl cultivation, number of trays affixed, supplies required, and all the other necessary aspects of the business.
This is because, cultivation of pearl is a time consuming process and involves several years, within which, remembering everything might not always be possible. Apart from that, one should maintain a separate record of the number of pearls harvested after every grafting.
Wrap Up – Pearl Farming
Though time consuming, moti farming or pearl farming is still emerging as one of the most treasured business by people all across the world.
Pearl farming business is mostly flourishing in the rural areas because of the availability of lakes, ponds and freshwater sources. However, if approached strategically and in an organized manner, the pearl business can grow incredibly and produce satisfactory turnover in the end.