NPOs Devise Business Model to Revitalize Lake-Area
Wednesday, December 20, 2006 Posted: 12:13 AM JST
Aiming to purify the water and preserve surrounding ecosystem of Lake Kasumigaura in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, a business project with ecological intervention is in progress under an agreement sealed in October 2004 by two nonprofit organizations and an agricultural company, namely the Asaza Fund, Eco-Town Hokota and the Guild. They process alien fish species and non-commercial fish caught in Lake Kasumigaura into fish meal, so that regional farmers can use it as fertilizer or livestock feed. The business set up a brand name for agricultural products grown with the fish meal and started marketing it in February 2006, thereby building up a regional recycling business model.
In Lake Kasumigaura, nitrogen and phosphorus drainage from outside areas has increased, thus causing serious changes in its material cycle, and water pollution caused by sewage contamination has also become a big issue. Furthermore, the increases in fish of foreign origin, such as black bass and horned pout, has changed ecosystem structures, causing declining catches of indigenous fish species that have high market value.
Seeking a solution for these problems, the business started buying invading fish species and unused fish from the fisheries cooperative association in order to process them into fish meal. The fish meal is used as fertilizer to grow ecological produce in basin areas, which is then supplied to distributors in the area and main markets under a brand name.
Meanwhile, the business entity plans to actively promote the initiative, encouraging agricultural groups that cooperate that use the fish meal to reduce their use of chemicals.
First published in December 2006 by Japan for Sustainability (JFS). Many thanks to JFS for their kind permission to reprint the article at iKjeld.com.
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