The small and marginal farmers are selling the GIFT Tilapia fingerlings in full swing as its business reaches at the peak following its huge demand amid favourable climatic conditions with adequate water all around now.
Under the programme, Rangpur-Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS) has taken a massive plan of farming 3.5 crore GIFT Tilapia fingerlings in paddy fields to produce 700 tonnes additional fish worth Taka 12 crore this season in the country’s 10 northern districts.
The reputed NGO has been implementing the programme after the poor and marginal farmers achieved tremendous successes by producing 293 tonnes additional fish and 1.2 crore fingerlings in paddy fields to improve their livelihoods last year.
The NGO with 11 partner organisations distributed the broods for producing quality fingerlings in Boro paddy fields this year to help the poor earning profits, tackling poverty and meeting their nutrition demand by GIFT Tilapia farming and selling fingerlings.
The 3-year project of ‘Enhancing Impacts of Decentralized (fish) Seed Production (EIDSP)’ funded by Department of International Development (DFID) of the UK is being implemented and will be completed by June 2011 in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
This season, a total of 3.5 crore Tilapia fingerlings are being produced involving 8,827 paddy field farmers, who have successfully breaded Tilapia broods in their fields since the last Boro season this year.
To make the programme successful, 2.3 lakh GIFT Tilapia broods fish have been reared in cages at the community levels and those were distributed to the enrolled farmers for breeding in 790 hectares of paddy fields.
The selected farmers had developed small ditches in boro paddy fields and released the Tilapia broods from late March to mid-April, and breeding continued till April- May last when the farmers started selling their fingerlings and the business rose now to its peak.
Besides, the project has been supporting 709 seasonal pond farmers for rearing the major carp’s dhani (half-inch sized fries) and 709 kg of dhani are being distributed among them to produce more 3.5 million fingerlings approximately.
Because of availability of the quality fingerlings at community level, the farmers are becoming more interested in culturing fish and requesting for more Tilapia broods this time, Project Coordinator Sattyanarayan Roy of EIDSP told BSS today.
He said that more than 3.5 lakh GIFT Tilapia fingerlings worth Taka 4 crore were produced during the last Boro season in paddy fields and 700 metric tonnes additional Tilapia fish worth Taka 8 crore will be produced before the T-Aman harvest this year.
After completion of the project by the year 2011, a total of 21,000 targeted farmers of these 10 districts will produce six crore GIFT Tilapia fingerlings and 6,000 tonnes additional Tilapia fish worth Taka seventy crore annually, he said.
Like last year, the project is being implemented since last Boro season in Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Gaibandha, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon districts this year in the region.
Director of RDRS and Team Leader of EIDSP Dr Syed Samsuzzaman told that the proven environment friendly technologies for making available quality fingerlings to the door end of farmers has been helping them to alleviate poverty and getting nutrition.
Renowned fisheries expert Dr Benoy Kumar Barman of the Worldfish Centre told that each of the involved farmer household will be able to produce 2,500 Tilapia fingerlings from their fields of only 20 decimal areas on an average.
Vansi Reddi, Research Associate of National Resource International Ltd recently visited the project in Kurigram and Nilphamari, talked to the farmers and expressed satisfaction over the lowest cost project to facilitate fish farming to combat poverty.
Sattyanarayan today said that the project has been proved very effective when the things have been changed over the decades reducing fish production and two selling centres of fingerlings have been opened in Kurigram and Nilphamari this season.