High returns draw more farmers to fish farming

- ARJUN RAJBANSHI, Jhapa

Mar 15, 2017-

The number of people involved in fishery in Jhapa has increased over the years due to high returns as compared to other traditional crops. Currently, there are more than 1,200 fish farmers in the district. 

Considering, the attraction of a large number of Jhapa locals towards fishery, the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) has decided to support local farmers to run fish farms at two blocks under the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project. Launched this fiscal year, the 10-year project is expected to give a further boost to commercial aquaculture.

DADO has chosen Baigundhura and Topgachhi as two blocks to implement the project. “More than 60 hectares of land will be used in these areas to develop commercial fish farms,” said Shalik Ram Bhattarai, technical assistant at DADO Jhapa. “The office has already asked application from farmers, farmers’ group and agri-entrepreneurs of the district to implement the project.”

DADO Jhapa has received 30 applications from interested individuals, groups and firms. “We are studying the applications. By mid-April we will conduct field visits before selecting them for the project implementation,” said Bhattarai. “We will start constructing fish pond by mid-May.” 

Commercial fish farming is done on 310 hectares of land in Jhapa. According to DADO, around 1,072 tonnes of fish is produced in the district and the entire produce is consumed in the district. 

The project will support fish farmers in supplying fish feed, purchasing machinery to produce fish feed, constructing fish ponds, constructing deep boring to supply water to the pond and providing technical knowledge in fish farming. According to Bhattarai, a farmer will get grant of Rs100,000 to construct a pond in a hectare of land. 

Likewise, farmers will get 50 percent grant in purchase of machinery and 75 percent to arrange for water supply to the pond. An individual farmer or a group or a firm must have a plot of 6 hectares in minimum to qualify for the grant under the project. 

Launched in January, the Rs130-billion project envisages adopting modern farm techniques to boost productivity and making the country self-reliant in food.

As per the plan, the government will be creating 2,100 pocket areas of 10 hectares each, 150 blocks of 100 hectares each, 30 zones of 500 hectares each and seven super zones of 1,000 hectares each to bolster the country’s agriculture productivity. 

The government will implement the project under a private-cooperative-group partnership model aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in wheat and vegetables by this fiscal year, and in paddy and potato in two years.

The government has targeted making the country self-sufficient in maize and fish by the next three years and in fruits like bananas, papaya and litchi by four years. By the end of the project period, the country is expected to become self-sufficient in fruits like kiwi, apple and orange.

Published: 15-03-2017 09:10

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