Friday, July 28, 2023

Training women farmers in scientific fish farming to boost production and income in the Ganges Delta

Scientific fish farming is the key to enhancing the production efficiency of the aquaculture sector. However, in the Sundarbans Region in the Ganges Delta of West Bengal, India, fish farming practices are mostly traditional and labor intensive involving little pond management and feeding.

Realizing the need to introduce scientific fish farming practices among the farmers, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI) in West Bengal, in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), conducted the Scientific fish farming practices for enhanced production efficiency and income training in Ramgopalpur Village in South 24 Parganas District. The objective of the program is to secure the farmers’ livelihood by increasing their knowledge in developing efficient fish production from the aquaculture system.

Women in this village play an important role in fish farming, and hence, the research team considered women farmers as suitable participants for the training on scientific fish farming. The off-farm training was conducted with 46 women farmers.

Drs. Dhiman Burman and Dr. Uttar Kumar  Mandal, both scientists at CSSRI, discussed the role of women in farming. Mr. Rinchen Nopu Bhutia, a scientist also at CSSRI, provided the in-depth lecture on various activities such as pre- and post-stocking pond management in scientific fish farming. 

The information provided would greatly help the farmers to greatly as through scientific farming with proper pond management and supplementary feeding, a faster growth of fishes and higher production can be achieved within short period, which will ultimately improve the farm income. 

Because the cost of fish feed accounts for the major expense in aquaculture, the training taught the women farmers how to prepare low-cost feed using locally available feed ingredients (e.g., mustard oil cake, rice bran, fish meal). This is one of the topics that the participants found highly valuable and expressed their interest in more hands-on training on fish feed formulation.

“We were not aware of the nutrient requirements of the fishes and the nutritional properties of different fish feed ingredients”, said Aparna Mondal, one of the participating farmers. The utilization of locally available feed ingredients could help the farmers to get better production from the ponds at a lower operational cost, according to Mrs. Mondal.

Additionally, leaflets with detailed information on fish farming was distributed among the participating farmers.

This activity is part of the CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas: Securing the Asian Mega-Deltas from Sea-level Rise, Flooding, Salinization and Water Insecurity.


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