The past fortnight’s floods in Nellore district are likely to have a calamitous impact on the country’s seafood exports in 2015-16. The heavy rains have wiped out fish and prawn ponds over about 8,000 hectares. With tank bunds getting washed away across the district, shrimp farms have been obliterated, causing steep losses to farmers.
The ponds cannot be cultivated again till the sand layer is removed, new roads are laid and power supply is restored.
Andhra Pradesh exported 2.79 lakh metric tonnes of shrimp in 2014-15. To this, Nellore contributed 32,000 metric tonnes. Brackish water ponds have been washed away in Venkatachalam, Chillakur, Manubolu, Kota, Chittamur, Vidavalur, Muthukur, Allur, Indukuripeta, Totapalli, Gudur, Vidavalur, Kavali and Bogole and freshwater ponds have been destroyed in Sangam, Buchireddypalem, Kodavalur and Atmakur mandals.
Vennamei shrimp culture
Fisheries Commissioner Ram Shankar Naik who camped in Nellore to supervise the relief operations said, Kandaleru canal was flowing 45 kilometres from the reservoir to sea in Nellore district. Vennamei shrimp was raised in about 8,000 hectares situated on either sides of the creek were washed away in floods and the loss would be around Rs. 250 crore, he said.
“Each farmer had spent about Rs. 3 lakh on each hectare for seed, feed, power, labour and other infrastructure. But, the equipment was totally destroyed and in some ponds the machinery was washed away in floods,” the Commissioner said. Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA Deputy Director S. Kandan said many transformers, electric poles, aerators, generators, motors, pipelines, feed stocks, boats and other material were damaged or washed in the recent floods.
Speaking to The Hindu, National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA) AP Chief Executive Officer K. Shanmuka Rao said that MPEDA, NaCSA and Fisheries Departments are enumerating losses due to floods and a report would be submitted to the government soon.
Mr. Ram Shankar Naik said that aquaculture was damaged in Pudiparthi, Iragali, Kolanakuduru, Bestapalem, Siddavaram, Tikkavaram, Eruru and other villages.