Linear growth in human population and decreasing trend in animal population put an extra burden on food production and necessitated search of new sources of food. Increased supply of meat and meat products is the next possibility to satisfy the food demand in coming future. Fish production is an emerging field of supply high-quality protein and another nutrient-rich meat particularly in northern India, the southern part of the country being the leading fish production states by habitat.
During characterization survey of the area, a number of farmers doing fish farming and fetching high income from the enterprise show the future scope of this enterprise in the area. The government of Uttar Pradesh has taken it as a campaign and a number of measures have been taken to popularize the fish production programme in the state including rejuvenation of old village ponds and digging new ones and also establishing seed nurseries and hatcheries.
Management of farm pond
To standardize cultural practices for the small size of fish pond best suited under small farm conditions and raising the income of IFS model, a fish pond with a total living area of 1200 sq.m. and water filling area of 0.09 ha. was constructed in the month of August 2004 and fingerlings of fish species rohu, Katla, mrigal and grass carp were introduced @ 10000 fingerlings/ha as mixed seed. Before introducing fingerlings in the pond the pond ground layer was well mixed with the silt of old fish ponds and cow dung to reduce the downward and lateral movements of pond water.
For proper feeding, the pond water was nourished by cow dung (Photo 15), mustard cake, rice bran and NPK as per recommendations. Liming of the pond was also done as and when required to maintain the pH level normal for better growth of fishes. A level of 1.5-meter depth of water was maintained by regular watering in the pond. The exercise of fishes was also done at regular intervals of one month for good health and rapid growth for good health. The growth of fishes (Photo 16) was watched at a regular interval of three months and the harvest of fish (Photo 17) was done twice a year when fish weight reached in between half to one kilogram.
In very first year comparatively less yield (148 kg) than expected was obtained which was mainly because of less space available for free movement and required an exercise of the fishes and high density of fingerlings in the pond. To correct this error, the pond was rejuvenated by removing middle barrier hindering movement of the fishes in to the pond water (initially the pond was divided into two equal portions) and putting an optimum number of fingerlings for less competition for food and space. As a result, the situation improved and the yield of fishes increased from 148 kg in 2005-06 to 280 kg in 2007-08, 472 kg in 2008-09 and 518 kg in 2009-10.
The improvements made in the shape and size of the pond and cultural practices made possible to get considerably higher yields and subsequently more gross and net returns ( Rs.25900 and Rs.16063, respectively in the fifth year 2009-2010) than initial two years of establishment. Besides fish production, nutrient rich pond silt (de-silted once in every third year) and pond water (recycled as irrigation water for crop production twice a year in Kharif rice and rabi wheat) were applied for productive use in crops.
A total amount of 18.56 kg N, 6.21 kg P and 74.24 kg K was added by excavation of 15 cm deep ground soil surface of 800 m2 pond area saving an amount of about rupees nine hundred fifty. The OC% of the soil was as high as 1.20 with an average value of 0.95. The addition of pond silt and water was found to increase the yield of rice and wheat by 3.48 q/ha and 2.41 q/ha, respectively. In addition to this bund dykes were also utilized for raising fruits like banana (Photo 18), citrus, guava and also many other crops including short duration vegetables and green manure crops Sesbania aculeate, Lucenea lucocephala (Photo 19). These crops not only add into production but save bund slopes from soil and water erosion.
- Project Directorate for Farming System Research-ICAR