Emilia T. Quinitio, along with Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) Deputy Director S. Kandan and National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA) Chief Executive Officer K. Shanmuka Rao, visited the ponds at Gilakaladindi and other villages.
Dr Kandan said hundreds of farmers were cultivating crabs in around 2,000 hectares in mangrove plantations along the coast, reports TheHindu.
“We are producing around 200 kg of crabs per hectare, and the price ranges between Rs. 400 and Rs. 600 per kg. However, the price depends upon the size and quality of crabs. Some crabs weigh up to a kilo,” Ramu, a farmer, said.
Crab farmers said they were facing shortage of seed, and that middlemen were taking advantage of the high demand for seed during peak period. They urged MPEDA officials to set up hatcheries and supply quality seed.
The scientist, while appreciating farmers for raising quality crabs, enquired about the investment, feed supply, infrastructure and export opportunities.
Mr Shanmukha Rao said crabs raised in Krishna district were being exported to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries. Emilia, who was the head of Dumangas Brackish Water Station, Philippines, gave a presentation on scientific methods to be followed by farmers to prevent diseases.
“I observed that many farmers are following traditional aquaculture and are unaware of the scientific way,” he said.
Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) Assistant Project Manager D.V.N. Raju said that RGCA, a research division of MPEDA, was planning to raise hatcheries across the country and supply quality fish, shrimp and crab to the farmers.