Aquaculture for all

Kuttanad Convert Paddy Fields to Scampi Farms.

Technology & equipment Economics Politics +3 more

KERALA, INDIA - If the paddy cultivation, be it organic or non-organic, were a viable proposition, the paddy farmers in Keralas granary, Kuttanad, would not have ventured into fresh water fish farming, especially organic scampi cultivation.

With the non-remunerative prices coupled with labour problems and high cost of production, a majority of the farmers now go for one paddy crop, and that too only because it has been thrust upon them despite being unprofitable, reports Business Line. Some convert their paddy fields into a vast expanse of water pond for scampi or other fresh water fish farming to supplement their income.

However, to do organic scampi farming, a farmer, who is bound to cultivate one paddy crop, has to take up organic paddy cultivation strictly according to the requirements of the certifying agency before converting his paddy fields into a pond for growing scampi.

According to Business Line, at present, about 200 acres are under organic scampi farming in Kuttanad region, according Mr Joseph Kora, who has been in organic paddy and scampi farming for the past nine years. He has 11 acres under the crop. For the past two years, he said, there has not been any problem for marketing his product, as an agreement has been reached between some European buyers through a Kochi-based exporting company under the auspices of the Kuttanad Vikasana Samithi (KVS). He told Business Line that his farm, both of paddy and scampi, was certified by the German Certification Agency, Naturland Association and its inspection body in India, Indocert.

“Farmers in Kuttanad can no more subsist on ordinary paddy cultivation, which is a losing proposition and, therefore, they have to be motivated to diversify into organic paddy and fresh water fish farming,” Fr Thomas Peelianickal, Executive Director, KVS, told Business Line.

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