Dharmapuri (Tamil Nadu), July 8 : Inland fish farming is becoming a major source of livelihood for farmers in the districts of Dharampuri and Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu.
Over 5, 000 farmers in these two districts have taken to fish-farming business.
The farmers are utilizing available water resources in the district for fish farming. Local ponds are being used for fish-farming under the self-employment scheme.
There are around a thousand ponds which have been dug by the farmers for fish farming. They spend at least two hours everyday to tend the fish in these ponds.
"All that you need is a pond of 30 x 20 feet having a depth of three feet. I deposited eggs to hatch and also live fish in my pond. We can earn nearly 20,000 to 30,000 rupees in three months. We send fish to the wholesale markets of Hosur, Bangalore and Mettur," said Ponniyappan, an inland fish farmer at Mankarai village in Dharmapuri.
Villagers are nurturing a variety of fishes -- Kelzhuthi, Katla, Ruhi, Mrigal and Kendai - in the ponds.
A farmer bought around 50,000 small fish and tossed them into a pond to grow and breed. It took only three months for them to grow and give him a good yield.
"I have a farm of 40 X 60 feet. Within just four months, I could get back my investment, by selling fish to the traders in Hosur and Bangalore," said Rajan, another inland fish farmer.
Farmers believe that fish farming needs small investment and is profitable. One can get results in a very short period.
The total investment cost is around rupees 15,000 per pond, and the income is double the amount after a period of three to four months.
"In Pennargram Vetur of Dharmapuri, I have taken to pond fishing. I have to devote at least two hours a day to care for my fish. I earn around rupees 30 to 40 per kilogram of fish. It has a good market in Kerala and Karnataka. And our fish is considered very healthy," said Mani, another inland fish farmer.
The fish is sold for rupees 30 per kg to the bulk buyers and wholesale dealers. In local market, the fish is sold at rates of rupees 250 per kg.
"I conduct my business from Hosur. I sell one to three tonnes of fish. On an average, I earn Rs. 25,000 to 30,000 depending upon the quality and size of the fish," said Surendran, a fish trader from Hosur.
Buyers from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra buy these fish, apart from the fish merchants from the Salem region of Tamil Nadu.
Farmers in Tamil Nadu now know that fishing business is not fishy. By Jaya Kumar