Integrated Fish Farming System for risk reduction and livelihood enhancement of smallholder farmers

The integration of fish farming with agriculture and livestock aims at increased efficiency of resource utilization, reduced investment through crop diversification, and additional source of food and income to farmers. In this context a stakeholder workshop ‘on promoting and popularizing Integrated Fish Farming System for risk reduction and livelihood enhancement of smallholder farmers in Cauvery delta region of Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu’ was held jointly by NABARD and Fish for All Research and Training Centre on April 12th 2019 at the Centre in Poompuhar. The participants included 42 farmers from 30 villages, comprising of both men and women.

Dr. S. Velvizhi (Head, Fish for All Centre, MSSRF) explained the aim of the programme. She said that this project would be implemented in Sirkazhi and Sembanarkoil blocks. The project is for a period of two years, with a total of 30 farmers benefiting directly from the project. These beneficiaries would be from 30 villages from the two selected blocks. The farmers to be selected for the project will act as master-trainers to popularize the IFS among fellow farmers in their respective villages. Selection criteria of beneficiaries includes that the chosen farmers should have one-acre land and dairy farm in order to get the desired results from the project. Totally 12 types of intervention have been shortlisted for the project, which include fish culture, livestock rearing, horticulture, agriculture, fodder crop cultivation, trees and fruit crops, apiculture, azolla culture and vermiculture. The farmers would be provided with fingerlings, poultry chicks, vegetable seeds, trees and fruit tree samplings. Apart from training they would be provided on government schemes and linkages that would benefit them.

Mr. B. Prabaharan, the District Development Manager, NABARD, Nagapattinam while addressing to the farmers, said that this is NABARD’s first project of IFS model in the state of Tamilnadu. He added that one model of IFS farm would be established at the Fish for All Centre for training purpose. The details on cost benefit details of IFS would be shared with farmers for better understanding on the economics, also an exposure visit would be arranged so that the farmers could see existing successful models and learn first-hand. In total 10 programmes have been allocated for the project per year. Another 10 village level training programmes to popularize the IFS model would be organised in the two blocks.  

The day long programme had several other interactive sessions handled by experts. The facilitators who participated in the event are Mr. S. Selvamani (Director, RESETI, Nagapattinam), Dr. C. Suresh (Head, VUTRC, Nagapattinam), Mr. R. Sridhar (Assistant Engineer, Agriculture Engineering department, Mayiladuthurai), Mr. S. Dileep, (Inspector of fisheries, Sirkazhi), and Mr. C. Kumaresan (Assistant Horticulture Officer, Sirkali). Each of the facilitators explained the various schemes that their department provides and how it could help in achieving the integrated farming system.

In today’s scenario changing climate and depletion of natural resources both in sea and in land, this initiative by NABARD and The Fish for All Centre envisions building resilience among the fishing and farming communities in Nagapattinam through training and awareness for bettering their livelihoods.

Photo credit: Manikandan V, Content provider: Selvarasu T, Author: Nivedita Shridhar