TODAY -

Fish based integrated farming system for higher income
- Part 2 -

Ch Basudha Devi *



FISH-CUM-POULTRY FARMING

In most agricultural farms, extensive fish culture and poultry raising is practiced. Although fish production is the more profitable component, in an integrated system the profitability of poultry sub-system is also required to be a self-sustaining activity. The modem methods of poultry raising require sophisticated management, which seems to be beyond the capacity of most rural fish farmers.

It may be easier for a proven poultry farmer to integrate fish culture with his poultry rearing than a fish farmer to integrate poultry raising his fish farming system. While designing the components to be integrated, both fish production conditions as well as the type of wastes and by-products expected from other components that are to be recycled in fish pond are to be evaluated. Except for modifications in the design to accommodate the poultry/crop sub component, the rest remains more or less similar to normal polyculture system.

FISH-CUM-DUCK FARMING

The kind of duck to be raised must be chosen with care since all the domesticated races are not productive. Duck species like Sylhet Mete and Nageswari, Indian runner, exotic species like Khaki Campbell etc. can be used for duck cum fish farming. 200-300 ducks are sufficient to produce manure adequate enough to fertilize a hectare of water area under fish culture.

Two - four months old ducklings are kept in the pond after providing them necessary prophylactic medicines as a safeguard against epidemics. The ducks start laying eggs after the age of 24 weeks and continue to lay eggs for two years. The ducks lay eggs only at night. It is always better to keep some straw or hay in the comers of the duck house for egg laying. The eggs are collected every morning after the ducks are let out of the duck house.

Large quantities of feed and manure are added to the fish pond every year. This results in a conside4rable amount of residue settling on the bottom of the pond. Moreover, fish and aquatic animal excreta and alluvial soil also settle on the bottom of the pond. The organic material decomposed by bacteria forms a great deal of humus, which combines with the sludge on the bottom of the pond to form silt.

The silt is beneficial to the pond as a fertilizer; however, an excessive amount of silt is detrimental to water quality. It accumulates rapidly when large quantities of feed and manure are applied. The pH of the water will decline, the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) will increase, the nitrites and gases such as NH3, H2S, CH4 and PH3 will accumulate and harm the fish.

PUBLIC HEALTH RISKS

The dangers of fish acting as vector for human pathogens are still not clear. Public health aspects of fish produced in human wastes might be expected to be more serious than those of animal/fish integration. Researchers have made comparative studies of natural fish populations and those grown using cattle manure or effluent.

Large numbers of bacteria, including potential pathogens were found in skin, gill and intestine of the fish cultured using manure or effluent; but tissues and blood appeared sterile on both groups. This suggests that the consumption of fish cultured in waters containing animal manure would not cause a health risk greater than that of fish caught from natural waters.

FISH-CUM-PIG FARMING

Piggery is a highly profitable enterprise because of all the domestic animals, pigs are the most prolific. In India, pig farming and pork production are in the hands of traditional pig farmers belonging to lower income group. The food habits of Indians are changing and there is a great demand for pig meat. Pig can fit into diverse systems of management.

It can be reared on kitchen wastes, industrial or agricultural by-products and slaughter house offal. Pigs are voracious eaters and can convert agro-waste into edible and highly nutritious meat. Pig rearing is one of, the best feed converters.

Breeds Suitable for Integrated Pig Farming

Large and Middle white Yorkshire Berkshire Hampshire Landrace Crosses between exotic and indigenous pigs and pure local breeds are also available. One is the simple pig shed constructed on the pond dyke or over the water surface; the other is centralized hog house. Both types have their own merits and demerits. The cost of the simple one is lower and moreover, itís easy to apply the manure to fish ponds.

Therefore, this type is more suitable to household or small-scale farms of fish-cum-pig integration. The excreta of pig can automatically flow or be flushed into the pond. It can save much labour. Ifthe area ofa fishpond is less than 0.5 ha, apig sty can be setup on the pond dyke and then, pig wastes after flowing into the pond, can diffuse to the whole pond by virtue of winds and waves.

If more than 30 pigs are raised in the same spot, the method of flowing by gravity is not suitable because the more the pigs, the more the pig manure. More often than not the place near the pigsty will be heaped up with manure and the water quality will be partially deteriorated. In order to fully utilize the effectiveness of manure, it's necessary to pay attention to the method of applying.

The manure from the centralized hog house is easy to be concen-trated to a storage pond or a sedimentation basin. The amount of application can be controlled by various means. Centralized hog house is fit to be built in large-scale integrated fish farms. The manure after dilution can be spread along the pond dyke by manual labour or by small boat in small fish ponds.

If the fish pond is large, it's better to use boat and mechanic apparatus to spread the manure evenly. In fish-cum-pig integration, two points must be especially noticed: one is lack of oxygen in the pond; the other is eutrophic pond water. Therefore, water quality should be monitored regularly. Besides, the production period of pig should match the demand of pig manure in fish farming.

CONCLUSION

Agriculture is facing a trial triple challenges that involves producing more food for a g rowing population, conserving the environment and ensuring food security (Godfray et al., 2010). Integration of crops livestock with fish farming is a unique and lucrative venture and provides a higher farm income, makes available a cheap source of protein for the rural population, increases productivity on small land-holdings and increases the supply of feeds for the farm livestock.

The scope of integrated farming is considerably wide. Ducks and geese are raised in pond, and pond-dykes are used for horticultural and agricultural crop products and animal rearing. The system provides meat, milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, mushroom, fod-der and grains, in addition to fish Hence, this system provides better production, more employment and improves socio eco-nomic status of farmers and rural economy.

For further details contact:
Public Relations & Media Management Cell,
CAU, Imphal.
Email: prmrncell@gmaiLcom

Concluded...


* Ch Basudha Devi wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is from ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Manipur Centre, Imphal, Manipur
This article was webcasted on August 03 2022 .



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