GUWAHATI, April 19 � Better late than never. After a long delay, Assam is poised to make rapid strides in freshwater prawn cultivation. Pilot projects in the state have dispelled doubts over the feasibility of fresh water prawn farming in this region.
According to sources in the Fisheries Department, fresh water prawn will be available in the state very soon. Scampi, the commercial name of the large fresh water prawn (Macrobrachium rossenbergii) has been commercially cultured in the state�s agro climatic condition sending a positive message to fish farmers.
Though initiatives have been taken to popularize prawn farming practices through various schemes, the main thrust has been under the scheme of Rural Innovative Fund (RIF), NABARD. The motto of the scheme is �Replacement of Bottom dweller fish through fresh water Prawn� and was implemented by Kalong Kapili, a leading NGO under Dimaria Development block of Kamrup district.
�Bottom dweller fish such as Common Carp fetches low price and Mirika has low growth rate, therefore replacement of bottom dweller fish by fresh water prawn will pay rich dividends,� Jyotish Talukdar, secretary of the NGO informed.
Talukdar revealed that the initial response from consumers has been very encouraging, and buyers have acquired the stock from the source. After the involvement of 30 fish farmers in two seasons, around hundred new farmers are keen to take to prawn cultivation this year.
Each of the pond area was about 0.1 ha, and culture was practiced in fifteen tanks and the prawn production was about 100 kg per tank. Apart from the prawn, other fish production was 300 to 400 kg, said Dr Sanjay Sarma, Fishery Officer under Department of Fisheries who rendered the technical services. The farmers sold the prawn at the local market for Rs 400 to 500 a kilo and the market demand was impressive, he said.
Witnessing this success, fish farmers from various parts of the state has visited this area and shown interest, DV Nakhwa, DGM (Technical), NABARD stated. The schemes under Rural Innovative Fund of NABARD had successfully been implemented by the concerned NGOs and the rural poor farmers are highly benefited by these schemes, he added.