NALBARI, May 17 - Devajit Barman, Amal Medhi and Hemanta Das are among many fish farmers in Nalbari district, who have not let the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic dampen their spirits.
Devajit, a young farmer of Nankar Bhaira village has produced more than hundred crore fish seeds and sold them to farmers during the lockdown period. He has also managed to sell 1,000 kg of fish in the last two months as the Nalbari district administration gave some relaxation to the farmers to continue their work. Devajit Barman is a well-known fish seed producer of the Northeast and has kept his production and distribution going despite hurdles due to the nationwide lockdown.
Another progressive fish farmer of Sandha village, Amal Medhi has produced more than one crore fish seeds and sold around ten lakh of them so far in the fingerling stage. Amal Medhi is one of the pioneers of the State who has been successful in induced breeding of kawoi (Anabas testudineous), Singhi (Heteropneustes fossilis) and Pavo (Ompok pabda). Medhi continued with his nursery rearing of air-breathing cat fishes in bamboo cages, commercial seed raising in small homestead earthen ponds, air-breathing fish culture in cement cisterns, production of low cost homemade feed for magur and kawoi seeds, modification of live feed for air-breathing fishes to reduce the cost of feeds, modification of low-cost polythene structures for rearing of magur seeds among others.
The promising farmer has also developed an innovative mass seed production model as the demand catfish seeds has been increasing day by day for the last few years and the growing demand could not be met through the FRP hatcheries.
One Hemanta Das of Sonamoti village in Nalbari district is also producing seeds of indigenous magur fish with a high success rate. The lockdown has in no way harmed the spirit of these farmers of the district, but on the other hand their efforts have helped thousands of fish farmers of the State in getting quality seeds at the right time to sustain fish production.
The Deputy Commissioner of Nalbari Bharat Bhusan Dev Choudhury, the chief scientist of Nalbari Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Dr Mridul Deka, District Veterinary Officer Dr Ashini Kalita recently visited the fish farms of the district to boost the morales of the fish seed producers. The DC spoke to the farmers and assured all possible help in their endeavour. Dr Deka and Dr Kalita asked the farmers, who also have piggery farms to save their pigs from the African Swine Flu by maintaining maximum hygiene in the farms. As the sale of pork and transportation of pigs has been temporarily banned in the district, they called upon the farmers to take maximum care of their pigs.
While talking to this correspondent, Amal Medhi said that the visit of the Deputy Commissioner has encouraged them as they discussed their problems with him. The immediate steps taken by the DC during the strict first lockdown saved the fish farmers from heavy losses. He further stated that considering the importance of air-breathing fishes in NE States, some rural youths are now undertaking biofloc and Recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS), a system for fish production. However, due to lack of quality seeds of catfish, these innovative systems are not flourishing properly. He added that everyday crores of fish seeds are entering Assam from Bangladesh through Kolkata, which is draining our money to the tune crores of crore of rupees. Considering the fish market in the NE States, Medhi has designed an innovative RAS model (Recirculation aquaculture system) for seed production and rearing of air-breathing fish after taking training at NBFGR, Lucknow last year. According to him, through this design we can produce upto 20-25 times more than the FRP hatcheries. In this system, there can be production of 10 lakh spawns in each cycle, with one cycle taking 5 days to complete.