Odisha government has been planning to bring a "revolution in Fish Farming through Women Self Help Groups" and increase the fresh water fish production in the state.
There are around 6 lakh Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) with membership of more than 70 lakh women registered in each and every village of the state under Mission Shakti- a flagship self help group movement of the Odisha Government.
There are approximately 64,000 Gram Panchayat (GP) tanks (51,000 hectares). However, some tanks are in derelict condition and underutilized for fish production.
The government has decided to give GP tanks to WSHGs on long term lease of (3-5 years) on priority basis for doubling the productivity of GP tanks from present 2.3 ton/ha/year to 5ton/ha/year and to boost overall fish production of the state..
Inter-departmental convergence programme involving departments of Fisheries & Animal Resources Development, Women and Child Development & Mission Shakti, Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water with technical support from worldFish was mooted and a flagship scheme named “Fish Farming in Gram Panchayat Tanks by Women SHGs” was launched in September last year.
The government also made a change in policy to encourage the WSHGs to actively enroll in the scheme.
The initiative will be a game changer in generating sustainable income for rural women , improving nutritional outcomes and increase fish productivity in the State, official sources said .
Odisha is endowed with 6.79 lakh hectares of freshwater resources, 4.18 lakh hectares of brackish water resources and 1.70 lakh sq. km of marine exclusive economic zone, and has great potential for fish production.
Odisha has immense scope in freshwater fish as the demand is more than the supply. Annually it imports nearly 40,000 metric tons of carps from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to meet the local demand.
Per capita consumption of fish in Odisha is about 15.62 Kg, which is higher than national average of 9.30 kg.
District level training of trainers (ToTs) were conducted in all 30 districts of the state during December 2018 to March 2019 to train people about fish farming.
Block level trainings for WSHG leaders is under progress since June 2019 and will be completed by October 2019. In total, 320 batches of block level trainings will be conducted with a target of 9,200 beneficiaries from WSHGs .
Extension material such as “training manual on Fish farming in GP tanks by WSHGs”, leaflet on better management practices (BMPs) for fish farming in GP tanks have been produced and are under distribution to nearly 50,000 members of WSHGs across the state to enhance the knowledge of WSHGs on scientific and sustainable fish farming for better yield and higher income.
On-farm technical support to the WSHGs is provided at farm-gate at least once a month.
During 2018-19 (first year of the scheme), against the target of 1,680 ha with financial support from RKVY, the programme has achieved 1,463.51 ha covering 1,711 WSHGs.
During 2019-20 (second year), it was targeted to cover 3000 Ha water area (1500 Ha from RKVY and 1500 Ha from Blue Revolution). Till date, in total 2,654 GP tanks covering an area of 2,025.01 Ha have been leased to 2,631 WSHGs.
During 2018-19, the average fish productivity and harvest size was about 1.5 tons/ha and 700 grams per fish, respectively against the target productivity of 2.5 tons/ha and target average size of fish at harvest at 1 kg.