The state fisheries department is planning to set up a feed factory in Ranchi in a bid to improve productivity and give an impetus to mariculture in Jharkhand.
The proposed factory will produce fish feed from locally available sources, and also procure it from outside if and when required, which in turn will be sold to farmers at subsidised prices to help in their endeavour.
The first factory will come up in the state capital as part of a pilot project, to be later replicated in a couple of other districts depending upon response and functioning. The factory has been envisaged on private-public-partnership mode and the department is at present on the lookout for eligible firms with experience in fish feed production.
“The partner could be local or outsider but they should have prior experience in the job,” Ashish Kumar, deputy director of the fisheries department told The Telegraph. “The project endeavours to propagate fish farming as a reliable source of food, income and employment generation,” he added.
The department zeroed on this idea after the fish festival was held in Ranchi recently.
“The response to the festival was tremendous and we realised that having a feed factory would benefit local farmers a lot,” he said, adding that the department would provide all possible subsidies to the selected firm under the state industrial policy.
The cost of setting up the factory would depend on the plan submitted by the agencies.
Meanwhile, department sources maintained that they were in the process of conducting a research on fish cultivation and production in two rivers of Jamshedpur — Subernarekha and Kharkai — for which around 1.50lakh fingerlings (small fish/feed) will be needed.
“The fingerlings will be made up of 30 per cent katla, 40 per cent rohu, and 30 per cent mrigal. We have asked interested parties/individuals to approach us if they have the consignment. Our officials will then inspect their ponds and quality test those fingerlings, following which the department will procure them. The selected parties may also apply for setting up the factory without help,” said another official.
Another outcome of the last week’s festival was that the state government has sanctioned 200 more cages to be released in various water bodies across the state under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
“Fish culture was introduced a year ago in Hatia dam followed by Chandil dam this year. The response has been very good. Therefore, the government now wants to replicate in all the water bodies and ponds. All one needs to do is to submit an application and we would bear 90 per cent of the cost,” said Kumar.