Balasore, December 3 (LocalWire): For the farmers stretched for means to increase their earnings, freshwater pearl culture is proving to be a boon to the agrarian community in Balasore district.
According to locals, since freshwater pearl yields over three times more profit margins a lot of farmers are evincing interest in the culture process, particularly in Baliapal block in the district.
However, the farmers allege that there is no financial encouragement either from the state or the central government to support this initiative, although there is a demand for it.
Agrees district fisheries officer Rabinarayan Pattnayak: “There is no scheme to promote freshwater pearl culture under the fisheries department yet. It is under the Agriculture Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha Ltd (APICOL).”
Pattnayak further informed that the process is known as image pearl culture while the actual freshwater culture is done mainly in the southeastern Asian countries, which is not possible in this climatic condition.
A prominent pearl-culture farmer, Arun Pal said that though there are provisions for loans and subsidy under the APICOL scheme, the criterion to get the support is very stringent and makes it difficult for farmers to avail of this facility. “Overall, there may be around 20 farmers who have taken up this,” he stated.
A man with over 14 years experience in pearl culture, Pal explained that the total cost till the harvest, including mussel, feed, and cage comes to around Rs 30 per mussel and it gets sold at least Rs 100.
“One can earn around Rs three lakh by investing Rs one lakh in this. The Harvest period is a maximum of one year. However, it is important that the mussel should be at least three years old before hatching and should be of the required size and weight before undertaking culture,” Pal said.
Cultured pearls are real pearls that were not formed by accident of nature. Most pearls sold today are cultured since edible oysters do not produce nacre and thus do not produce pearls.