Manipur's annual fish fair translating into jobs for people

Imphal, Dec. 1 (ANI): Manipur produces over 20,000 tons of fish annually and this translates into jobs for people.

The Ningol Chakouba Festival is an occasion used for promoting fish production in the state.

Held at the Hapta Kangjeibing or 'Palace Grounds', the event is organized by the state fisheries directorate, and has been a regular feature since 1976.

Nearly 2,000 fish farmers from across Manipur throng the fair and compete for the sale of their products.

The fair provides them with an opportunity to market their produce and find new buyers.

"We are implementing various schemes to motivate the fish farmers. The production per hectare is very low as a result of non-availability of fish seeds and fertilizers. We want to increase the per hectare productivity of fish, which will boost the total production of fish in the state," said Saratkumar Singh, Director, Fisheries Directorate

This year's fair saw 19 metric tons of fish being put on display in 71 stalls.

On display were varieties like grass carp, Rohu, Mrigal and Pengba.

Grass Carp, is popular in Manipur and farmers involved in its farming have been doing well. Prawns are also cultivated in the state and cost Rs.400 per kilogram.

The winners at various fish competitions were awarded prizes of Rs.50,000.

"The fish fair provides tremendous opportunities for fish farmers. The fisheries department encourages the fish farmers to form self-help groups. They are providing us fish seeds from Hyderabad-based National Fishery development Board (NFDB) at subsidized rates. The facility is available to farmers visiting the fair," said Surchandra Singh, a fish farmer.

While the state government and banks are promoting fish farming in the state, they are also closely monitoring its retail price.

"This fair is one of the best things happening in the state. The Government is trying to set a fixed retail price for the fish to make it affordable for every one. We appreciate the initiative," said Khokendrajit, a resident.

Manipur is regarded as the ideal place for fish farming among the eight northeastern states. The other seven are Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.

It has 79,360 hectares of water body suitable for fish farming as compared to approximately 3.39 million hectares of total cultivable land. (ANI)

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