Pilot project to revive shrimp-cum-paddy cultivation in 266 acres in three districts

The traditional shrimp-cum-paddy cultivation in brackish waters will be revived at Munderi here after a gap of over four decades.

The cultivation is being taken up as part of the Fisheries Department’s pilot project to restore the ‘kaipad’ fields to the system of rotational farming of rice and shrimps and the practice of capture-based aquaculture.

Paddy cultivation and shrimp filteration will be taken up on 25 acres of kaipad fields at Munderi, close to the basins of the Kattampally river, as part of the project, launched by the Agency for Aquaculture Development, Kerala (ADAK) to revive the traditional farming system in a total of 266 acres in Kannur, Kasaragod, and Kannur districts. As much as 222 acres has been identified.

ADAK project manager Dineshan Cheruvat said the kaipad lands at Munderi were prepared for paddy cultivation last year by introducing filteration aquaculture. The group of local farmers involved with the cultivation had produced paddy saplings required for 30 acres. The excess saplings would be handed over to other groups, he said.

Sixteen self-help groups of farmers have been formed in the three districts for the project. Each group has at least five members to undertake kaipad farming in 12 acres. Land has been made available to the groups on lease for a period of not less than five years.

The project covers brackish water areas in Mogral-Puthur, Kumbala, and Manjeswaram panchayats in Kasaragod; Ezhome, Taliparamba municipality, Puzhathi, and Munderi panchayats in Kannur; and Atholi and Ullyeri panchayats in Kozhikode.

The project, however, hit a roadblock at Ezhome, when a group of environmental activists alleged that mangroves were being cut for the kaipad farming system. ADAK officials said the 25 acres identified for the project used to be kaipad paddy fields till 10 years ago. The fields were privately owned where mangrove trees grew after they were left fallow for years. A meeting of farmers, eco activists, and ADAK officials would be held at Madayipara at 9 a.m. on Saturday to discuss the issue, they said.