Directorate of Fisheries
Training and On-Farm Extension Support to Women Self-Help Groups for Pisciculture in Gram Panchayat Tanks
Government has identified fish farming as one of the potential business activity for the WSHGs. Therefore, an inter-departmental convergence program involving departments of Fisheries & ARD, WCD & Mission Shakti, Panchayati Raj & DW with technical support from WorldFish was mooted and a flagship scheme named “Fish Farming in Gram Panchayat Tanks by Women SHGs” was launched during September 2018. To encourage women SHGs to actively enroll in the scheme, an important policy change was brought in by the Government for long term leasing (3-5 years lease) of GP tanks to women SHGs on priority basis.
The scheme provided a financial support @ Rs. 90,000 per hectare to SHGs, which makes 60% of the operational expenses (unit cost of Rs. 1.5 lakhs/ha/crop) towards the fish production. Two-crop system per year by promotion of stocking of zero size fish fingerlings (50-100 gram size) was highlighted for doubling the productivity of GP tanks. The target production is 2.5 tons / ha / crop of 6 months or 5 tons / ha / year.
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. Fish farming was taken up in 1,738 GP tanks. Fish fingerling was released during September 2018 – March 2019.
4401 GP tanks (1972 tanks during FY 2018-19 & 2429 GP tanks during FY 2019-20) covering an area of 3579.42 ha have been leased out to SHGs for fish farming. Having the doorstep marketability, this livelihood activity has been proved to be very successful in enhancing the income of the SHG members & supplementing nutrition intake of women. Harvest of fish worth Rs. 83 cr has already been made in 4038 GP tanks so far. During 2019-20, 2400 SHGs adopted improved fish rearing practices in 2344 GP tanks.
For the current year 2020-21, 1580 hectare of GP tanks have been earmarked for leasing out to SHGs. During the lockdown, 4355 SHGs engaged in pisciculture have harvested more than 21000 quintals of fish from GP tanks with a market value of Rs. 30.2 crore yielding a profit of Rs. 15.1 crore for the SHGs.
The scheme has brought a remarkable change in the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of SHGs towards fish farming. The SHGs have volunteered to clean and repair the derelict or under-utilised GP tanks. They have cleared all the weed plants such as eichornia, duck weed etc from the water. Wherever the water level is low, SHGs have filled those tanks using locally available water pumps using ground water or from local irrigation canals. With unity and smartness, they have fiercely protected tanks from unscrupulous elements who otherwise harvest the fish from GP tanks without any restrictions. SHGs have started using locally available agricultural byproducts such as rice bran, oil cakes, soaked pulses etc as fish feed. Also, many of them have started using commercial pellet fish feeds. Due to increased awareness they have started reporting any abnormalities in fish behaviour and fish mortality to the project officers. This has helped them a lot in disease diagnosis and appropriate treatment in a timely manner. Due to the scheme, availability of fresh fish in the villages has definitely increased. And also, the SHG members have started consuming more fish in their households. This will definitely have a positive impact on nutritional outcomes of the women and children of the state.
This initiative will be a game changer in generating sustainable income for rural women, improving nutritional outcomes and increase fish productivity in the State.