Imphal (Manipur) , Aug 25 : The state of Manipur is home to the largest freshwater lake-the Loktak Lake. Fishery and aquaculture farming plays an important role in the socio-economic life of the people and the state.
Fish is one of the essential parts of the daily diets in Manipur, with fish farming practiced in around one lakh hectares as the state is blessed with a good aquatic ecosystem. Fish farming has brought a revolution in landlocked Manipur. Let's meet a farmer from Manipur whose life changed through fish farming.
The 49-year-old, Konthoujam Laghachandra Singh, produces a number of fish varieties every year from his three-acre fishery pond located in Manipur's Bishnupur district.
"This paddy field was not suitable for agriculture as we were not able to yield good crops. So, I thought of an alternative and decided to do fish farming here instead of wasting the land," said Konthoujam Laghachandra Singh, fish farmer.
Laghachandra, who is among the most successful fish farmers in Manipur, was a cultivator and a vegetable vendor. Now, he nurtures varieties of fish including Rohu, Silver Carp, Grass Carp and local indigenous fish in his pond.
"The climatic condition in Manipur is very pleasant to this aquaculture. The areas with water which are unsuitable for agriculture can be taken up for such aquaculture systems," said Dr. Basudhara Devi, a fishery scientist.
Earning a profit of Rs 14,50,000 to 16,50,000 lakh every season, Laghachandra has been able to support his family with his fish farming.
Life has changed dramatically for Laghachandra after he started fish farming. His fish business flourished furthermore after he met the officials of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Government of India who provided him various technical know-how and inputs related to the fishery.
Under the guidance of Scientist of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) as an experimental trial, a species of freshwater Eutropiichthys vacha (Hamilton) Ngahei of 8,000 fingerlings were reared at the Khabi Mamang Leikai pond and has spent around 4.5 lakhs for fish feeds and maintenance.
"My aim as a fish farmer is to excel in technology. I feel that the advice from the researchers and scholars is very important here. When I started farming initially, I contacted the ICAR [Indian Council of Agricultural Research] team, without them, I would have not able to handle this farm," said Singh.
According to ICAR, the state has the potential to produce 56,500 tons of fish per annum. With the growth of the population, the demand for fish has risen rapidly in Manipur.
Energetic and hardworking, farmers like Laghachandra have not only generated employment opportunities but have helped in the conservation of the rare species of fishes by increasing the aqua system culture of the region.
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