In the area called Issarn are many farmers specialized in Rice, the typical authentic Thai Jasmine rice is coming from their hands. The profit is low and the work is hard, and weather has a big influence in the quality of the rice. World wide competition is not easy as well. There is no social security money like in many European countries the people need to find their own way to survive. This make the thai creative to find other sources of income. Clemens Kahmann find out that many rice farmers were being replaced by sugar cane farms. Big factories were being built on locations close to the high way and good connections with the fields. The infrastructure is simple but good enough to change the business without large investments. Foreign companies were very interested and set up companies with Thai entity and investing in the factories. While the local government supported them with small changes in the infrastructure.
During the trip of Clemens Kahmann for his visa to Laos he passed the Issarn area many times. This culture of eating fish came from the Mekong river which pass between UdonThaini and Khon Khen. There are the bigger companies with fish farmers and next to it locals to get their fish to sell it on the street. There is no space for more and other competitors while there is a big market for more fish supply. During one of Clemens Kahmann’s stays there for his visa he spoke to a rice farmer who want to sell his land. The man was 68 and work was too heavy for him, especially when most of his relatives went away to Bangkok for a better life. The land was huge and he was owning it all, there was no need for him to work hard anymore.
Due of this new business in the sugar cane there was a market for soil. It needed to be replace to make it healthy. This situation brought the idea to Clemens Kahmann to buy this land from the rice farmer. He told him I will make a fish farm from your rice field. The farmer was just laughing but he needed the money. What followed was calculating how much soil you good get from this whole area. How deep you could dig in before you will get water. The financials were positive to receive a loan from the Kasikorn bank and they started working. It took a year, with many trucks, graving machines to get out as much as possible soil. The loan was finally being send by the bank. Then at the depth of 17 meter very clear beautiful water spring out from the soil. After the first fase had ended, there was a happy old man. They made a temporary business, time for the next step.
The best fish for the market in Thailand is Tilapia. People love it to grill or to make the Tom Yam. So Clemens Kahmann started to buy small tilapias from 5 cm. He made 10 cages to put them in, each cage could have around 10.000 fishes. It should take 3 to 4 months to let them grow. This is was beginning the fish farm, it was called Bo Farang ( lake from the foreigner). The Tilapias had a beautiful colour blue green. It gave work for some locals there, fisher man, guards, sellers in the market, middle man. An unexpected situation exist, because of feeding these fishes for many months other fishes outside the net started to live. Clemens Kahmann bought a variety of small fishes. Within 2 year people start to fish around the lake in the middle of rice fields. Competitions were held and vendors were selling cold beverages. It became a small Silk Road.