Shrimp farmers of Surat and south Gujarat are rejoicing over the announcement of Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel of allotting over 7,500 hectares of land for shrimp farming in the Budget. At present, shrimp farming is done on nearly 5,000 hectares of brackish land in the coastal villages of Surat, Valsad and Navsari districts in south Gujarat.
The decision, according to the farmers, will generate employment and also boost the country’s exports. According to Patel, nearly 25,000 shrimp farmers would benefit from the additional farm land.
Deputy Director of Fisheries department in Valsad and Navsari Ashok Patel said, “The shrimp farming industry is well developed in south Gujarat and with this announcement farmers will be benefitted and it will also give employment to many youths. In Surat, shrimp farming is done on 1,500 hectares of brackish land, while in Navsari it is done on 2,600 hectares and in Valsad 700 hectares of land.”
“We are happy that the state government announced 7,500 hectares of land to be allotted for shrimp farming. The decision will not only generate employment but will also increase the country’s exports. Out of the total shrimps produced in Gujarat, 90 per cent of the production is done in south Gujarat,” said Manoj Sharma, president of Surat Aquaculture Farmers Association.
There are over 500 registered members in SAFA, which also includes members from Navsari and Valsad districts.
Since the last 25 years, Sharma, and his teams have been doing research work on shrimp farming and also creating awareness about it among people in Surat, Valsad, Navsari.
According to Sharma, Gujarat has 3.75 lakh hectares of brackish land suitable for shrimp farming and presently. “On one hectare of land, ten people get employment to look after different types of work related to shrimp farming. The number of shrimp farmers is less as many of them own more than one ponds. Out of the total production of shrimps in India, over 90 per cent is exported to countries like the USA, UK, China, among others.”
He added, “Gujarat is the second state in the country after Andra Pradesh, which produces 55,000 tonnes of shrimp’s worth Rs 3,000 crore. Gujarat will lead the country in reaching the first position if more unused land is allotted for shrimp farming. India is number one in the world producing 6.50 lakhs tonnes of shrimp with an export of Rs 40,000 crore.