Aqua-based IFS model : Options and opportunities for doubling farm income in NE region

Ratan Kumar Saha *

At present agriculture sector as a whole is facing hardship challenges to meet the food security and livelihood improvement of poor and small holding farmers. Agriculture and fisheries sector is the largest consumer of water, and highly vulnerable due to its direct dependence on climate parameters.

Fisheries and aquaculture support the incomes and livelihoods of about 10-12 percent of the world's population. The sector has an important role to play in gender equality, poverty and food security. Aquatic systems are also associated with rich biological diversity in a wide variety of ecosystems.

Since, aquaculture is not practiced evenly across the country so this write-up would addresses the potential impacts of climate change on the freshwater aquaculture sector with possible adaptations and mitigations to overcome these impacts as well as for doubling the farm income in a sustainable manner by considering following issue in a convergence mode:

1. Location specific climate-smart aqua-based 'IFS' (A4) model with view to optimum use of land and water resources.

2. More crop per drop of water viz., limited irrigation, aquaponics, hydroponics etc.

3. System and species diversification.

4. Use local germplasm, their improvement and conservation strategy.

5. Timely availability of quality inputs as well as use of local resources.

6. Promotion of buy back policy and public-private-partnership (PPP) mode.

7. Holistic approach for irrigation, transportation, marketing and technological intervention.

8. Attracting and retaining youth in agriculture (ARYA).

9. Need based skill development.

Three tier Aqua-based IFS model at CoF, Tripura In view of above challenges, development of location specific climate-smart aqua-based 'IFS' model is thus a need of the hour to achieve future food security and to mitigate climate change impacts. The College of Fisheries, CAU (I), Tripura developed 3-tier aqua-based 'IFS' model which includes tour (4) A i.e., Aquaculture + Agriculture + Animal Husbandry + Apiculture.

Working principles of the model

Tier 1: Nursery (5% area): Stocking density was 12.5 lakhs ha-1 (six day old spawn) and obtained survival at College of Fisheries 31%

Tier II: Rearing (15% area): Stocking density was 3 lakhs ha-1 and obtained survival at the unit developed at College of Fisheries was 57-72% for rohu and about 95% for common carb.

Tier III: Grow-out (80% area): The production per ha in the grow-out ponds (3rd Tier) at the lower elevation (under scientific management with application of pelleted supplementary feed): 3500-4000 kg ha-1 y-1 in the initial 1st and 2nd year and it should be >4000-5000 kg ha-1 y-1 (from third year onward once the soil fertility and water retention improves).

Aqua-based IFS interventions in NEH region by COF, Tripura This model was replicated at different areas of NEH region by the college through various projects with due consideration of local habitat/situation and the availability of natural resources.

The location specific interventions are
(i) Fish-vegetable-fruit farming
(ii) Fish-vegetable farming,
(iii) Fish-fruit farming,
(iv) Fish-pig farming,
(v) Fish-vegetable-pig farming,
(vi) Fish-fruit-pig farming,
(vii) Fish-fruit-vegetable-pig farming,
(viii) Fish spawn rearing-vegetable farming,
(ix) Fish-medicinal plant farming,
(x) Fish-rice-vegetable-fruit farming,
(xi) Fish-Fruit-goat farming (New),
(xii) Fish-agriculture-mushroom (New),
(xiii) Fish-duck-farming,
(xiv) Fish-cow farming.

Fish-goat-fruit farming (New)

Goat is considered as poor man's cow and its excreta are considered as a very good organic fertilizer. ['he goat excreta contains organic carbon-60%, N-2.7%, P-1.78%, K-2.88% and its urine is also equally rich in both N & P. Al least 50-60 goats are essential to fertilize 1 ha pond. the goat breeds are Jamanapari, Beetal, Barbari for milk and Bengal, Sirihi, Deccani are used for meat purpose.

Goats are selective feeders and consume Berseem, Napier grass, Cowpea, Soybean, Mulberry etc. :This integration can provide 3500-4000 kg fish/ ha/year without supplementary feeding and fertilizer.

Fish-agriculture-mushroom (New)

[Fish farming can be integrated with mushroom culture. Mushroom cultivation requires high degree of humidity and therefore its cultivation along with aquaculture tremendous scope. The shed of mushroom culture should be prepared on pond embankments which get required moisture from pond water.

Mushroom cultivation fits in very well with sustainable farming and has several advantages. It uses agricultural waste products, a high production per surface area can be obtained, after picking, the spent substrate is still a good soil conditioner as well as pond fertilizer, [Three kinds of mushrooms: European button, oyster, and paddy straw may grow for small scale production.

Apart from these three new more interventions viz.,
(i) fish-bee keeping-fruit farming,
(ii) Fish-beekeeping-floricultur e-veg-farming
(iii) Fish-bee keeping-mustard/rapeseed farming also have immense opportunity in the NEH region.

By keeping 3-5 bee colonies/ha the mustard// rapeseed production can be increased up to 20% with 4% increase in oil content and honey can be harvested 3-4 times during bloom. Bee hives should be placed in the Centre of field when crop starts 10% flowering. After oil extraction waste can be used in the fish pond as mustarded oil cake (MOC)/rapeseed oil cake (ROC).


Out of total 15 interventions tested, six were found most applicable for the selected area of NEH Region which includes:
- Fish-rice-vegetable-fruit farming system.
- Fish-vegetable-fruit farming system.
- Fish-pig-veg-fruit farming system.
- Fish-goat-fruit farming (New).
-Fish-mushroom-fruit farming (New).
- Fish-honey bee-fruit-mustard (New).

:After intervention the fish production increased to the tune of 108-686% and rice production to the tune of 27% with overall improvement of B:C ratio ranged from 2.44-4.81. [ion-availability/timely availability of quality fish fmgerling/seedlbreed, feed, and fertilizer/manure are some of the major constraints for successful and sustainable aqua-based 'Integrated Farming System' in the region, which needs to be addressed.

For further details contact: -
Public Relations& Media Management Cell,
CAU, Imphal.

* Ratan Kumar Saha wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is the Director of Extension Education, CAU, Imphal
This article was webcasted on February 03 2023.

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