Manipur spends over Rs 300 crore on fish import every year as fish is one of the most common food items consumed by almost every household across the state, Manipur Fishery Minister H Dingo said on the occasion of National Fish Farmers Day 2022 on Sunday.
National Fish Farmer’s Day is celebrated on July 10 every year to demonstrate solidarity with all fisher folk, fish farmers and concerned stakeholders throughout the country.
Amid the high demand for fish, the state’s requirement of fish per year is 56,000 metric tons; but it is able to produce only 36,000 metric tons per year, Dingo said, addressing the celebration of the 22nd edition of National Fish Farmers’ Day.
“The increase of the fish production rate to 36,000 metric tons per year is also due to the certain initiatives taken up by chief minister N Biren starting from the previous term,” he said at the event held at the Directorate of Fisheries in Lamphelpat, Imphal West.
Considering the high demand, Dingo pointed out that Manipur has great potential to increase fish productivity as only 18,000 hectares of the water bodies covering a total of 56,461 hectares in the state is used for pisciculture.
The minister acknowledged the grievances faced by the staff of the Fisheries department such as lack of machinery, staff and the issues faced by the fish farmers. Dingo assured to appraise the matter to the chief minister to redress those grievances.
Calling for coordination among the fish farmers, officials and experts, he informed that the department is also working at its best efforts by consulting with many experts and scientists to boost fish productivity in the state using the latest equipment and technology.
The minister apprised the officials of the department and the farmers to work transparently and give their maximum efforts to bring Manipur in the stage of becoming a fish exporter.
PHED Minister L Susindro in his speech stressed the need to support and encourage the fish farmers by means of giving initiative etc. to make Manipur self-sustainable in fish production.
Meitei Sareng production
Director of Fisheries H Balkrisna pointed out that the department plays a vital role in the economy of the state as fish is the most common food item consumed by almost by its entire population.
He informed that the project for revival of Meitei Sareng (indigenous catfish) launched under the initiative of the chief minister in July last is being implemented successfully.
Each fingerling of the Meitei Sareng which was distributed last year has now grown to the scale of two kilograms each, he said, adding, “Those fishes will be ready for sale in the upcoming Ningol Chakouba festival.”
With the various centrally-sponsored schemes for pisciculture and the initiative of the state government, Manipur will be witnessing a ‘blue revolution’ in the upcoming five years, he added.
During the programme, prizes were also distributed to the winners of the Annual Fish Fair cum Fish Crop Competition 2021 at Mapal Kangjeibung on November 5, 2021.
Prizes for Fish Production
Under the ‘highest producer in individual’ category, Salam Rohendro Singh of Laphupat Tera, Imphal West bagged the first prize, N Basanta of Khordak, Bishnupur bagged the second prize while Ashok Tongbram of Thanga, Bishnupur bagged the third prize.
Ningthoujam Basanta Singh of Khordak, Bishnupur bagged the first prize in the category of Highest Indigenous Fish Producer. He is the only winner in this category.
DFO of Imphal West bagged the award of best District Officer with Highest Fish Production (Valley) while DFO of Churachandpur E Rameshwor bagged the award of best District Officer with Highest Fish Production (Hill).
The function was also attended by Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Minister Khashim Vashum and secretary of Fisheries Haobam Rosita among others.
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Centrally-sponsored fish production schemes
It may be mentioned that the Government of India is said to be in the forefront in transforming the fisheries sector and bringing about economic revolution through Blue Revolution in the country. The sector envisioned to increase the farmers’ income through enhancement of fish production, improving the quality and reduction of waste.
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme Blue Revolution - Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries was launched in 2016. Considering the contributions of the Blue Revolution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the “Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) in 2020 with a budget of over Rs 20,050 crore for a period of five years.
PMMSY aims to achieve 22mmt fish production by 2024-25 from the current 13.76 mmt. It also aims to create an additional employment opportunity to about 55 lakh people through this sector.
The scheme provides thrust for infusing new and emerging technologies in fisheries and aquaculture while creating a conducive environment for private sector participation, development of entrepreneurship, business models, promotion of ease of doing business, innovations and innovative project activities, including start-ups and incubators.
Meanwhile, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) scheme was started in 2018-19 with a budget of Rs 7,522.48 crore, which is also continuing presently.
FIDF is expected to cater to creation of fisheries infrastructure facilities both in marine and inland fisheries sectors to augment the fish production to achieve the target.
Projects under the FIDF are eligible for loan up to 80 per cent of the estimated and actual project cost.