Bhubaneswar, Nov 27 (LocalWire): The fishing sector in Odisha is no more the preserve of men as women are steadily storming into their fiefdom.
It’s a refreshing trend of women empowerment as more and more women have taken the plunge into inland, freshwater and marine fisheries sector to augment their family income, said Bharat Bhusan Sahoo, a senior official in the state fisheries directorate.
Earlier, women faced cultural and social constraint in aquaculture production activities like composite carp culture, seed rearing and integrated fish farming.
But the scenario is slowly changing, Bindu Pillai, Director, Bhubaneswar-based Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, said.
Though freshwater aquaculture is more profitable than agricultural activity, women rarely participated before, she said.
‘Our organization holds training camps every week to sensitize farmers on aquaculture and inland fisheries.
Before, only men participated but since the past few years, we have noticed a significant rise in women participants,’ she added.
‘We have taken up the drive to sensitize women from the fishermen community to get actively involved with their male counterparts to increase produce.
With women taking a keen interest, our exercise is paying dividends.
Women self groups have also taken up inland fishing in leased out ponds in several villages of Cuttack, Khurda and Puri districts.
It definitely augurs well for the overall growth of fisheries sector in the state,’ Pillai added.
‘Women were earlier mostly involved in fish vending and drying, prawn peeling, sorting, grading, fish packing and net making.
It’s reassuring to see that women are now getting actively involved in freshwater aquaculture activity.
There are several instances of women venturing into rivers, creeks and water inlets to catch fish.
This will provide a facelift to the fisheries economy in these villages,’ the fisheries directorate official Sahoo said.
As per conservative estimate done by the department, 2.5 lakh women are actively involved in inland, freshwater aquaculture and marine fishing sectors, he said.
Freshwater aquaculture if taken up scientifically under technical advice is a money-fetching source of livelihood.
Women must rub shoulders with their male counterparts and develop entrepreneurship for the success of aquaculture, observed Pillai.
Appropriate methods coupled with technology can draw rural women towards aquaculture practice in a sustainable way.
The Indian Council of Agriculture Research-CIFA has implemented several projects successfully which have helped women beneficiaries over the years, she said.
Indian major carp spawn were reared by tribal women in their backyards and kitchen ponds in four villages of Keonjhar district. CIFA supported the tribal women with the required support.
They took up freshwater aquaculture projects seriously and their hardwork paid dividends leading to substantial rise in their income, she said.
11 villages around the institute were taken up under Institute Village Linkage Programme (IVLP) for common carp breeding.
Mostly women were involved in it and IVLP turned out to be successful.
Similarly, integrated freshwater aquaculture with women at the forefront was promoted in several villages of Mayurbhanj and Sambalpur districts for economic and livelihood development.
The average fish yield in adopted ponds increased four folds, added the official.