Fish farmers get a bountiful harvest in Bidar
Friday, Jul 14, 2006
IN DEMAND: Popular varieties of fish (from top) Katla, Rohu and Mrugal
Bidar: Fish farmers in Bidar district have made steady progress in inland fisheries in recent years. The revenue of the Department of Fisheries has doubled every year in the past two years. Officials expect a similar growth this year too.
"Bidar has a climate that is suitable for fish farming," says zilla panchayat chief executive officer Munish Moudgil. "It is one of the districts that receive heavy rainfall. At 850 mm a year, rainfall in Bidar is higher than that in Mysore, Mandya, Bangalore Rural and Belgaum districts. Proximity to Hyderabad, which is a huge market for fish, is another advantage. The department's extension efforts have made farmers aware of the benefits of fish farming. Many people who are not from traditional fish farming families have taken it up," Mr. Moudgil says.
There are over 250 major tanks in five taluks in the district. Of these, 175 tanks are considered suitable for fish farming. Fish farmers are allowed to use them and harvest fish at the end of the season. About 100 tanks, with a command area of less than 25 hectares, are monitored by gram panchayats. The Department of Fisheries looks after fish farming in the other 75 big tanks. Licence for using these tanks is given either to fishermen or their co-operative societies, of which there are 14 in the district. The annual licence fee is Rs. 150 a hectare.
The yearlong fishing season starts in June. Fish eggs and fingerlings are released in tanks. One thousand fingerlings cost between Rs. 210 and Rs. 260. Each of them grows to weigh between 1 kg and 4 kg in less than a year. Fully grown fish costs Rs. 40 a kg. A farmer makes a profit even if fish mortality is 70 per cent, Deputy Director of Fisheries Y.G. Nagral says. "The average number of fish released in tanks in the district three years ago was four lakh," Mr. Nagral says. "Two years ago, we released 8.5 lakh fingerlings and harvested 734 lakh tonnes of fish. Last year we released 15.34 lakh fingerlings. The harvestable quantity is estimated at 1,500 lakh tonnes this year. We plan to release at least 25 lakh to 30 lakh fingerlings in the coming season," he says.
The most popular varieties of fish grown in Bidar and surrounding areas are Rohu, Katla and Mrugal. Rohu is a popular variety and has a huge market. Katla is among the fastest growing varieties in the country. Each Mrugal fish weighs between 3 kg and 4 kg. "Farming these varieties makes sound economic sense," Mr. Nagral says.
Zilla panchayat member and fish farmer Nasimuddin Patel feels fish farming will grow in the district if more farmers are engaged in the occupation. "Farmers can grow fish in ponds in farms. A fish farmer can easily earn Rs. 25,000 a hectare each year. The zilla panchayat will organise camps to popularise fish farming and train farmers in improved methods of fish farming," Mr. Patel says