France loan to up fish yield

The Assam fishery department has approached Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a public development bank of France, for Rs 1,767-crore loan to develop indigenous breeds of fish in 700 beels (wetlands) across the state.

By RAJIV KONWAR in Guwahati
  • Published 30.04.18
  •  
BREED FEED

Guwahati: The Assam fishery department has approached Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a public development bank of France, for Rs 1,767-crore loan to develop indigenous breeds of fish in 700 beels (wetlands) across the state.

Sources in the fishery department said the bank has, in principle, approved the fishery department's Wetland Conservation and Protection Project and a team will visit the state in July for "identification-cum-appraisal".

The source said the bank will give Rs 500 crore as the first instalment to rejuvenate 500 derelict wetlands with potential of fish farming. Another 200 wetlands in forest land will be covered under the project.

Along with giving employment avenues to local residents, the scheme will go a long way in preserving the flora and fauna of these wetlands, he added. "The project lays emphasis on production of indigenous varieties of fish," the source said.

Senior officials of the state fishery department had recently given a presentation to the bank officials on the status of Assam's fishery sector along with the possibilities of developing it.

"Self-help groups will be engaged in fish farming. In case of the forest wetlands, the communities living around them on the forest land will be engaged," the source added.

The average fish production in Assam is 300kg per hectare per annum. The fishery department, through various pilot projects done under the financial assistance of the World Bank, has found that the production could be enhanced to 1,500kg per hectare per annum.

The AFD has told the department that it has come to know about the proposed plan of dredging the Brahmaputra and constructing an expressway along it. "It is understood that the proposed wetlands/fisheries are located in the floodplains of the river. What will be the impact of these activities on the wetlands and fisheries?" it asked.

The state fishery department has been working to increase contribution of the fishery sector towards the state gross domestic product by 0.50 per cent and reduce the fish demand-supply gap by 39 per cent.

Fish production during 2015-16 was 2.94 lakh metric tonnes against the requirement of 3.36 lakh metric tonnes.