Koraput, March 9 (LocalWire): In spite of having abundant resources for pisciculture, Koraput continues to depend on fish imports from other states to meet its growing demand.
Koraput alone has a demand of 8,500 metric tonnes of fish annually, but it produces a meagerly 5,500 MT. Thus, to fill this huge gap, it imports fish from neighboring Andhra Pradesh.
Although it has some 3,400 ponds, 15 irrigation projects and two reservoirs, spread over 5,800 hectares for fish farming, it still needs a major boost to meet the growing demand for fish.
People privy of the issues said that many farmers have been reluctant to undertake fish farming due to the alleged apathetic attitude of officials towards their problems.
“One of the reasons is late availability of fish seed. Quality fish seed should be made available from August instead of June,” said Tripati Satpathy, a farmer from Dangarpaunsi village.
“Also, fingerlings are made available only from last week of October, while it should be supplied throughout the year,” he added.
Farmers also face problems in getting loans to dig ponds, as many of them don’t have pattas (land records) in their name, and banks refuse to take mortgage on joint land ownerships.
“Timely supply of fingerlings, availability of loans and training at panchayat levels will encourage them to take up pisciculture,” said Harihar Harijan of Chilliguda village.
Though officials admit to the problems faced by farmers, they said that several steps were being taken to motivate farmers to take up fish farming.
“We have brought an extra 50 hectare of land under pisciculture. However, a simpler process for bank loans would help farmers,” said G. Jagdish Rao, assistant fishery officer, Koraput.
An official said that some 42 farmers have been shortlisted for bank loans for digging pond during the 2018-19 financial year.