KOCHI, 20 March 2018: Aimed at uplifting the living standards of the tribes, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) extended technical support in cage farming to around 35 tribal families in T V Puram panchayat in Vaikom, Kottayam. The initiative was part of CMFRI’s project for popularising the less expensive fish farming method among the tribal colonies across the coastal states under the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
A team under the leadership of Dr K Madhu, Principal Scientist and Chairman of the TSP at CMFRI provided skill development programme to the tribes equipping them to set up small-scale cage fish farming units in brackishwater ecosystem. The training included guidance on budgeting, site selection for the farming, suitable fish species identification, cage fabrication, feed management, farming procedures, harvesting and fish trade along with practical and hands-on trainings. The tribes were also provided opportunity to visit the cage fish farming sites in Nettoor being led by various farmer groups under the guidance of CMFRI and to clear their doubts on the farming methods.
The technical support is aimed at socio-economic empowerment of tribal people taking up cage fish farming as an alternate livelihood option. Dr K Madhu handed over a cage prior to the launch of the farming. “In accordance with the progress of the farming, more cages, fish lingers, feeds and other services will be provided to the tribal people in the area”, said Dr Madhu.
The farming would be carried out under the guidance of a CMFRI team from the beginning to the end, he said. “The institute will help the tribes to become entrepreneurs through small-scale cage farming units under various groups”, Dr Madhu said.
Cage fish farming is a less expensive but more productive fish farming model. It has proved 70 times more productive than the normal methods of the fish farming practices. Conventional pond culture of marine fishes produces an average 0.5 kg/m3 (5000 kg/ha) whereas cage farming offers a production of 35 kg/m3 .
The training programme, which was conducted at the HDPI Colony in TV Puram panchayat in Vaikom, was inaugurated by panchayat president Sebastian Antony. A team from the Mariculture division of the CMFRI that included Dr K Madhu, Dr Boby Ignatius, Dr Rema Madhu, Dr N Rajesh, N Venugopal and M P Vijayan led the skill development programme.