As fish farming in ponds has turned out to be lucrative for farmers in this arid district, the district administration has decided to introduce ‘composite fish culture farming’ in about 1,000 farm ponds to help famers earn additional income.
As about 75 per cent of the more than 2,000 farm ponds, dug by the District Watershed Development Agency (DWDA) and Agriculture Engineering Department (AED), have sufficient water, the Agriculture Department, in coordination with the Fisheries Department, launched the innovative fish farming venture on Saturday.
Officials from the DWDA and Fisheries departments formally launched the scheme under Farm Production System (FPS) by releasing fingerlings into ponds at Siraikulam, Pannanda Keerandai and Kothankulam villages in Kadaladi block. On the first day, the officials covered 110 farm ponds in the three villages, official sources said.
The DWDA has identified 336 farm ponds and the fisheries department about 200 ponds for fish farming, the sources said. In each pond, 1,000 fingerlings of fresh water species of ‘katla,’ ‘rohu’ and exotic species of common carp were released.
Thanks to clay soil condition, the water level would last for the farmers to harvest the grown fishes in seven to nine months time, sources in the Fisheries Department said.
Farmers could feed the fingerlings with groundnut oil cakes and rice bran and if managed well, they could harvest about 400 kg of fish in each pond and earn about Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 30,000, they said.
Last year, farmers practised fish farming in about 700 farm ponds. It turned out to be lucrative for farmers in Tirupullani, Mudukulathur and Kadaladi blocks. Some of the farmers harvested fishes which weighed 2 to 2.5 kg each, the sources said.
The Fisheries Department procured the fingerlings from Kallidaikuruchi in Tirunelveli district and supplied to the farmers free of cost.
As the breeding season drew to a close in October, there was difficulty in procuring fingerlings and the departments would cover all the 1,000 farm ponds by the end of January, the sources added.