Manipur takes to fish-cum-paddy farming in hills dists

Manipur takes to fish-cum-paddy farming in hills districts like the Apatanis of Arunachal Pradesh

Manipur has started a project to develop at least 450 hectares of paddy fields in five hilly districts to make them ready for fish farming and paddy cultivation together

Representative image: iStock Photo

Farmers of the Apatani community in Arunachal Pradesh have been traditionally doing this for a long time. Now, farmers in Manipur seem to be following their footsteps by taking to fish-cum-paddy cultivation together.

Manipur has started a project to develop at least 450 hectares of paddy fields in five hilly districts to make them ready for fish farming and paddy cultivation together with a target to make the state self-sufficient in fish production.

Manipur Fisheries Minister S Rajen said on Tuesday that the objective behind the paddy-cum-pisciculture project was to double the farmers’ income from the same field through fish rearing.

"Efforts are on for the development of the paddy fields by raising peripheral rings and constructing feeding channel across the paddy field with small marketing ponds for paddy-cum-pisciculture. It is also to encourage and inculcate the interest of farmers to fish culture," said a statement quoting the minister.

The paddy-cum-pisciculture scheme has been taken up under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana—Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) for the year 2019-2020.

Manipur requires 52,000 MT of fish every year. However, the state could produce only 27,000 MT. So the state imports fish worth Rs 400 crore from other states every year.

"The present scheme is to develop 450 hectares of paddy field in five hills districts with the total government subsidy at the rate of 25% to the total unit cost of Rs 1.60 lakh per hectare. The government has released a sum of Rs 1.80 crore with a sharing pattern at 90:10 between Centre and the state. And each beneficiary having an area of 0.5 hectares will get a subsidy amount of Rs. 20,000 which will be given in two installments. Rs 15,000 will be transferred through PFMS and the rest Rs 5,000 will be given in the form of fish seed," said the statement.