The Maharashtra government will promote fisheries as an allied activity to agriculture to double farmers’ income by 2022. Doubling farmers’ income by way of non-farm sources is high on agenda of Narendra Modi government at Centre.
Divisional commissioner Anoop Kumar on Tuesday said, with ready availability of 1.10 lakh hectare area under water bodies, Nagpur division has tremendous potential to develop fisheries as a major livelihood source for communities.
“But as these water bodies are underutilized, we decided to entrust a project of developing forward linkages in this sector evolving marketing, processing, storage and other strategies to sustain fisheries as a big income source,” said Kumar while releasing ‘Forward linkages of freshwater fisheries in Vidarbha region’, a field immersion report by students of IIM, Nagpur. Kumar was mentor and guide of the project.
“The IIM project was sequel to an action plan for development of fisheries in the region released in November last. We, along with MAFSU, will work on forward linkages to develop fisheries sector in Vidarbha in coming years,” Kumar said.
The Maharashtra government has adopted the Blue Revolution policy of the Central government, which aims at prosperity of fish farmers. The key objective of the revolution is to achieve 5 mt of fish production by 2022.
The total fish production in the state during 2015-16 was 6.20 lakh tonnes, of which 4.71 lakh was from marine sector and 1.49 lakh tonnes from inland sector. Interestingly, Vidarbha region accounted for 46% (68,330 tonnes) of the inland fish production.
“Now we want to further boost the untapped potential for fish output. The IIM reports suggests low-cost production and distribution of low-cost quality seed and feed for fish culture in ponds, tanks and reservoirs and adopt best practices from states like West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh,” said Kumar.
MAFSU vice-chancellor Ashish Paturkar said plans are afoot for integrated poultry farming in Vidarbha. Such farms are common in Thailand and provide bulk of low value fish for urban consumers. He admitted that a full-fledged marketing and value-addition strategies are badly needed.
The College of Fisheries Sciences under MAFSU has also shortlisted Gosikhurd and Upper Wardha reservoirs to boost fish output. “We will analyse water of these bodies thrice a year and based on this production capacity will be predicted,” said dean PT Jadhav.
MAFSU also plans to test soil and water of other unutilized water bodies, which were not on record till now and came to know with MRSAC help. Based on this surveys fish production will be increased.
Kumar informed that Nagpur division is already on a mission mode programme on fresh water aquaculture and pond fisheries christened as ‘Talao Tethe Masoli’ since May 2017, with an aim to increase fish production.