Fish farming in Manipur Intensive farming key to being self reliant
Source: The Sangai Express / Konsam Samita

Imphal, June 25 2021: Subject Matter Specialist (Fishery) of KVK Andro, Imphal East, Md Abdul Salam has stated that promoting an intensive farming system and addressing the problem being faced by the fishing community are the keys to make Manipur self-reliant in fish production.

He also stated that the fish production of the State is not able to meet the local demand.

Continuing that the majority of fishermen in Manipur practice an extensive farming system, which requires small inputs of labour, capital, etc, he said that in extensive farmings, fishers usually rear about 5,000 fingerlings on a piece of land (1 pari) and market whatever they get in 7-10 months.

To ensure maximum productivity, fishermen should upgrade the farming method to at least a semi-intensive system, Md Abdul said and apprised that fishers can easily rear 10,000 to 15,000 fishes on land measuring 1 pari through good management.

He continued that one can also use fertilizer and supplementary feeds in a semi-intensive farming system to enhance production.

Saying that the rate of fish consumption is relatively high in Manipur, Md Abdul added that fishes are regularly bought from outside to meet the demand here.

Fish farming in Manipur Intensive farming key to being self reliant
Fish farming in Manipur Intensive farming key to being self reliant

As per Government data, an average Manipuri consumes over 11 kilograms of fish in a year, he said and asserted that taking all possible measures to enhance fish production in the State is crucial to meet the local demand.

Continuing that production of 32.5 million metric ton of fish annually is quite low even for the domestic market, Md Abdul confirmed that the quantity required to meet the demand for fish, actually, is around 62.7 million metric ton.

"We can enhance our fish production by increasing the land under pisciculture or use all available resources with utmost efficiency," Dr Abdul said and added that fishers should give more emphasis on the latter option such as intensive farming as 'our areas are limited' .

Informing that intensive farming system is popular these days, he added that widespread implementation of this method is a necessity to boost fish output of the State.

Dr Abdul maintained that the State can produce sufficient fishes for meeting the domestic demand through intensive farming.

However, in intensive farming, one has to invest 60 to 70 percent of the farmer budget on feed cost, he continued.

Saying that one can rear 1 to 5 lakh fishes in this method (intensive farming), Md Abdul added that intensive systems require management skills such as preparation of pond, feeding the fingerlings timely, using the aerator properly etc.

Highlighting that marketing is one of the major problems of the farmers/fishers here, he maintained that the Government must formulate a marketing policy and set up a cold storage facility for fishes to encourage the fishers.

He further stated that giving loan facility to fishermen engaged in intensive farming method is also imperative as this method of pisciculture is expensive.

According to Dr Abdul, rearing climbing perch (ukabi) in a pari of land might cost the farmer around Rs 7.5 to 8 lakh while rearing Tilapia Fish (Tunghanbi Nga) on the same size of land might cost as high as Rs 13-14 lakh and Rs 17 to 18 lakh for rearing Ngahei (Hamilton).

He also urged the fishers to take benefits of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) to boost the fishery sector.

The districts that produce the maximum quantity of fishes in Manipur are Bishnupur, Imphal West and Thoubal, he said and contended that reducing the infrastructural gaps in the fishery sector among the 16 districts is also important to increase the State fish output.

Continuing that certain farmers have started rearing improved fish varieties such as Amur Carp, Vietnam Koi, Monoflex Tilapia in Imphal East, Thoubal, Kakching, Bishnupur, Imphal West, Md Abdul added that farmers can produce 8 to 10 thousand kilograms of these improved fish varieties from a pari of land.

Maintaining that Central Agriculture University Imphal has also been giving awareness and training on the different types of farming systems to the fishers community, he appealed to all to contact Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) or CAU, Imphal to learn the latest skills/technology of pisciculture.

About the indigenous fish varieties, Dr Abdul stated that an initiative of the Fisheries Department is essential to conserve the local breeds.

To culture the indigenous fish breeds, seeds production through private-public mode by collaborating with the registered farmers under the initiative of the Fisheries Department is required, he added.

He then appealed to fishermen to take the benefits of Government schemes, utilize the latest technology/skills to increase the fish production of Manipur.

According to certain fishermen, the problems being faced in the commercial rearing of fishes are marketing, transportation and poor road conditions.

One Waikhom Tikendrajit from Wabagai Mayai Leikai contended that lack of marketing and transportation facilities are the challenges he faces as a fisherman.

Saying that the Covid pandemic is amplifying the woes of farmers as well as fishermen of the State, he stated that repaying the existing loan taken for the business at these times of uncertainties is difficult.

He then appealed to the State Government to look into the matter.

It is said that Tikendrajit pursued graduation at Chandigarh, but didn't complete it due to the conditions at home and started rearing fishes commercially.

He also said that farmers and fishermen should not only think of the profit but also of the health of the population while doing business.

Saying that he rears Rohu, Mrigal, Common Carp, Silver Carp, Grass Carp on three pari of land, he added that he is able to produce 7 to 8 thousand kilograms of fishes from a pari of land by using artificial feeds.

He also said that he received training for rearing fishes from KVK Thoubal and CAU Imphal.

Saying that Wabagai is famous for fish production in the State, Tikendrajit said that fishermen of Wabagai can play a crucial role in boosting fish output of the State if the problem of marketing and transportation is solved.

He on the other hand expressed disappointment that no measure has been initiated to encourage the farmers during these difficult times, despite claims from different stakeholders.

(This article is written under the Media Fellowship Program in Scientific Journalism of the Public Relations and Media Management Cell, CAU Imphal.

Dr Indira Thounaojam, Information & Publicity Officer, PRMM Cell can be contacted at to know more about this article and related information
) .

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