'Ruwari' forays into ornamental fish market

 While fishing continues to be the major occupation of people belonging to economically weaker sections in Namma Kudla catering to the growing tribe of consumers, not many could taste similar success with fishery, especially ornamental fish.

Taking cognisance of this, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Dakshina Kannada, has ventured into a new experiment by forming a group of like-minded people to tap the market of ornamental fishes adorning aquariums at home.

The group named ‘Ruwari’ (Rural Welfare and Agri Resource Management Initiative)-The Leader,’ with eight trained members, has been setting a base in the coast since they founded it three months ago, courtesy the dedicated training camp conducted by ICAR-KVK.

The ‘Ruwari’ stall, set up at Kadri Park at the recently concluded Republic Day flower show, has boosted confidence of the new entrepreneurs who claim to have made some gain which is enough towards investment to set up a permanent stall. It was their second outing in the park, after the maiden and successful stint at Alva’s Nudisiri convention held at Moodbidri a few weeks ago, where they made a net profit of Rs 60,000, according to Harikrishna Kamath, a farmer member of the group.

Kamath had unsuccessfully tried his hands on ornamental fishes four years ago. However, the things have changed after attending the camp held at KVK, he said. “We have already requested the authorities at Zilla Panchayat to provide space to set up a permanent stall at Kadri Park, as it comes under the purview of Horticulture Department,” he added.

Kamath said that a variety of fishes like Gold Fish, Guppy, Koi, Molly and Platy to name a few are sold through ‘Ruwari.’

All these fishes are sourced through local farmers at Puttur, Belthangady and Vittal in the district, who breed fishes in tanks.

He was also proud to recall that some visitors, who came to the stall at Kadri Park, acknowledged the quality of fish provided during the stall set up at Moodbidri. Mention must be made of ‘Ruwari’ members, who have found a better alternative in ornamental fish trade, as they hail from diverse professional backgrounds. Another member Hariprasad Rai runs a paying guest accommodation, while Padmanabh is an interior decorator. Chandrashekar is involved in quarry business, so also others whose main occupation is different.

Shivakumar Magada, director of KVK and the brain behind the idea, told DH, “When most of the training camps turned out to be unproductive with the trainees from economically weaker sections remaining oblivious, it was taken up as a challenge to explore commercial avenues for a better living. As a result, the 12-member trainees who attended the camp during previous October were rigorously trained and re-orientation programme was also arranged with the sole purpose. While four among them parted ways, remaining eight showed keen interest and came together leading towards the birth of ‘Ruwari.’”

Magada said the KVK provided initial support with equipment worth Rs 50,000 including aquariums, oxygen kits and plastic bags.

Plans are afoot to register ‘Ruwari’ as a firm and help it further to take wings like a branded product, he added. 

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