Aquaculture for all

Aquaculture Catching on in Karnataka District

Economics +1 more

INDIA - The profile of Mandya district in Karnataka is changing with aquaculture now beginning to make a mark. The district in Karnataka is known for its contribution to sugarcane, paddy and ragi production.

Mandya, which was producing around 15 lakh fingerlings before 2007, is now producing around 1.8 crore, according to Shivakumar M., a professor at the College of Fisheries and the principal investigator to study aquaculture in the district.

The study was taken up under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana between 2007 and 2012.

He told The Hindu Business Line that aquaculture was not promoted at the cost of resources meant for other crops such as paddy, sugarcane and ragi.

“We promoted aquaculture in 258 villages on lands with higher alkaline content and low productivity.

“Lands that got water-logged often were also taken up for the project.

“We suggested only 10-20 per cent of such lands for aquaculture and the rest should be retained for agriculture,” he said.

Asked about the success rate in the project, he said around 70 per cent of farmers who took up aquaculture under the project have become successful.

Krishnegowda, a farmer from Chattanahalli village of Mandya district, who has around 2.5 acres of water-logged land, has been into aquaculture for the past three years. This farmer, who tried his hand in sugarcane and paddy cultivation earlier, said that he has been getting good yield for the past three years.

Recently, he sold around 18 lakh fingerlings from six ponds on his field. He spent around Rs 3 lakh on aquaculture, and made a profit of Rs 3 lakh in 60 days.

K.B. Shivanna, a farmer from Maddur taluk of Mandya district, said that he took the ponds meant for feeding water to cattle in his village on lease two years ago. After spending Rs 40,000, he earned around Rs 2.75 lakh.

Since he did not get the pond on lease the next year, he constructed a pond on an acre of his land holdings. Though, four acres of sugarcane gives him around 250 tonnes of yield.

For that, he has to wait for a year or so to get the money after supplying sugarcane to factories. The returns in aquaculture are quick, he said.

Highlighting the potential for taking up aquaculture in Karnataka, Shivakumar said the State needs around 44 crore fingerlings.

This estimate is for 50 per cent of the water-spread area in the State.

However, Karnataka is producing only around 22 crore fingerlings.

Shivakumar said that aquaculture should be promoted in controlled and phased manner in inland areas.

“If aquaculture is promoted in Mandya and dry-land areas, it will help increase the water table. In the long run, water crisis will get solved,” he said.

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