Patna: The animal and fish resources department has decided to give input subsidy to fish farmers willing to opt for supplementary fish feed.
The decision is meant to achieve the target of producing 8 lakh metric tonnes of fish per annum by 2022, as envisaged in the state's third agriculture roadmap.
"Half of the fish-feed price would be provided as subsidy input to the farmers opting for this scientific input which helps in rapid growth of fishes," said a senior official of the state fisheries directorate.
He said enhancing productivity was key to achieving the goal of making Bihar not only self sufficient in terms of consumption but also supply fish to other states.
The average fish productivity in Bihar is 3 tonnes per hectare of waterbody and the aim is 5 tonnes per hectare. The state produces 5.10 lakh metric tonnes of fish annually, against the demand of 6.42 lakh metric tonnes. The gap is filled by importing fish from other states. Fish farmers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana supply a good chunk to Bihar.
"Fishes cultured in captive water bodies like ponds need supplementary food for rapid growth as the water bodies do not contain all the necessary items required for the fishes," the directorate official said. "Ideally, 4.5 lakh tonnes of fish feed should be used by farmers of Bihar; just about 6,000 tonnes are being used. That is why we have decided to provide input subsidy to fish farmers."
According to department plans, half of the fish feed cost would be provided as subsidy.
The government has also decided to promote setting up of fish-feed mills. Those willing to set up such mills can obtain subsidy from the government - half of the cost incurred on setting up the mill, with the upper limit being Rs 50 lakh. At present six fish-feed mills are functioning in the state whose combined production is at 1,060 metric tonnes per annum. The remaining fish feed used in the state comes from outside.
With the subsidy push, several fish-feed makers have shown interest in setting up plants in the state. "Seven such mills with a combined production capacity of 3,995 metric tonnes are coming up in Bihar," said the officer.
He said the state was expecting more such players coming to Bihar as the state would need 4.5 lakh tonnes of fish feed once farmers start scientific farming in a big way.