Due to imposing cost of cultivation and deplorable selling price many farmers are abandoning crop cultivation, switching over to other remunerative farming activities such as goat, cattle, chicken and fish rearing. Especially, where there is abundant water resources they opt for in land fish farming. Doctors recommend fish consumption as they contain less fat and therefore there is stable market for fish all the time. Hence, those who invest in fish farming earn lucrative returns. One among them is Arumugam, from Thiruvannamalai district who is involved in composite fish farming.
Pudumallavadi village is situated seven kilometers from Thiruvannamalai. We visited his farm when there was a group of farmers harvesting fish in the pond that is glittering amidst coconut and banana plantations. There were many people waiting to buy freshly collected fish. Arumugam was selling fishes after weighing them. He delivered fishes to the customers and met us to discuss about his fish farming.
Technology learnt from training
“I have studied up to 12th standard. It is usual in our area to cultivate groundnut, banana and paddy. We too continued to do the same. Though there was considerable income, labor problem was persistent. So, my father began fish farming by digging out a pond in an acre of land. I was able to learn considerably about fish farming. Though there was very good return we could not continue it due to personal reasons and therefore the pond was closed.
Then I founded a timber saw mill. I could get good returns for ten years. Due to power cut problems I could not continue that business. That was the time I decided to return to fish farming in order to ensure sustainable income. I could practically witness high growth of Grass carp variety in my father’s pond. Therefore I decided to opt for Grass carp farming. So I attended all training programs to learn about fish farming and new technologies on rearing them conducted at Thiruvannamalai, Tanjore, Sathanur and Mordhana dams. Through the training programs I learnt about controlling of various diseases of fish.
Lafa that keeps fishes alive
Customers reach us all through the day. We cannot catch fish all the time. So we keep the harvested fish in a net cage called Lafa. So it is easy to catch them alive and cut and sell. The fish thus caught in Lafa remain alive till being sold.
Technology to stop water
If the soil where the pond to be dug is alluvial the water will be retained. If the soil is different, we can spread alluvial soil at the bottom of the pond. For an acre of pond 5 tons of manure can be spread and ploughed when wet and then water is filled, it will not leak.
3000 fingerlings per acre
Keep the water level at five feet in the pond. Pass 20 kilo cow dung daily into it. After a week, for an acre of pond, introduce fingerlings of 100 g body weight, 2000 Grass carp, 200 Glass carp, 200 Mrigal, 200 Catla, 200 Botla and 200 Roghu, in total 3000 fingerlings.
Caution during maintenance
Inspect around the pond while providing feed. If the color of the pond surface is green or there are fishes surfacing out and opening their mouth, immediately a part of the pond water should be drained and new water should be replaced. Otherwise there is no much maintenance. Fish can be caught and sold after 8 months.
At the beginning, 50 kg of Ko-4 fodder and one kg of company fodder to be provided daily. As the fish grow, every month increase the amount of Ko-4 to 10 kg and half kg of company fodder. For an acre of pond, we need to grow fodder in one acre, compulsorily.
Size of the pond
From the ground level, the depth of it should be 5 feet, and 3 feet of raised bund. There should be a drain pipe to remove excess water. The pond should be rectangular facing east and west.
Free training for fish farming
Mr Senthil Kumar, Assistant Professor and Head, Fisheries training and research centre, Tanjore mentioned: “For an acre of pond, we can introduce up to 3000 fingerlings. They should be fed with fodder, 5% of their body weight. The feed can be split into two, one in the morning and the other in the evening. There are ready made feed available in the market that can also be used. We can prepare fodder by ourselves by mixing husk and groundnut cake in equal proportion. Grass carps can be given green fodder as required. We conduct training programs on various topics, like ‘freshwater fish farming’, ‘ornamental fish farming’ and ‘farm pond fish farming’. Those who are interested can provide their details so that we will call them with prior intimation and date and venue.
For contact: Senthilkumar, Mobile: 94444-64404
Assistant Professor and Head, Fisheries training and research centre, Surakottai, Tanjore
Ko-4 fodder for Grass Carp
I have an acre and 20 cents of land. At first I dug a pond in 40 cents and introduced 100 gram weight fingerlings to it. Their growth was good. Then I dug up three ponds, 30 cents, 20 cents and 10 cents each. There are totally 10,000 fishes in these ponds, 6000 Grass carp, 2000 Glass carp, 1000 Roghu and 1000 Mrigal varieties. The loss will be more when smaller fingerlings are introduced. But the loss will be lesser when 100 g weighing fingerlings are introduced.
Grass carps mostly eat green fodder. As there are ponds, house and mill in my premises there is no space for fodder cultivation in my land. So I am growing Ko-4 fodder in my brother’s land. Grass carps eat them well. I provide company fodder for other fish varieties. Right now, there are about 4000 fishes weighing 1.5 kg weight, 4000 fishes weighing half kg and the remaining will be of ¼ kg. Usually, this many fishes will not be reared in an acre of pond. But there is no problem as they are of different ages and sizes”. He concluded with contentment.
3 tons per acre
“Within eight months Grass carp will grow to 1-1.5 kg weight. Other fishes will reach ¾ -1 kg weight. On an average we can get 3 tons of fish from one acre pond. As I sell the fish directly I can earn Rs 150-180 per kg. Even if I consider the lower cost of Rs 150, for 3 tons of fish I could earn Rs 4,50,000 as profit. If we deduct Rs 1 lakh as expenditure I could earn a profit of Rs 3,50,000. If I don’t sell them on my own and send them directly to the market I would not get that much profit. After deducting the expenses of transport and commission I would get Rs 2 lakhs only. He bid farewell to us happily.
Arumuga, Mobile: 90951-41396
(This article written in Tamil by Kasi.Vembaiyan for Pasumai Vikatan has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)