Sweet water prawn brings farmers back to business
Cultivation of prawn in sweet water is expanding in different areas of Satkhira district, India, as it is environment friendly and also more profitable than shrimp cultivation in saline water. (24 Sept 2007) The Daily Star
Farmers demand technical support
Cultivation of prawn in sweet water is expanding in different areas of Satkhira district as it is environment friendly and also more profitable than shrimp cultivation in saline water.
It can bring about a revolution in commercial fishery in the country as it can be cultivated without destroying the environment and ecology while shrimp cultivation in saline water is detrimental to the environment.
Prawn, locally known as 'golda', brings more profit as its price is higher. The yield is also more than that of shrimp, farmers said.
They said many people who abandoned shrimp cultivation after incurring losses due to virus attack are now showing interest in golda cultivation as it can be grown along with other crops. There is less risk of virus attack, they said.
'Golda' is being cultivated in 6411 enclosures, ponds and water bodies covering 5805.71 hectares in the district this year. Its cultivation covered 5207 hectares last year, district fishery officials said.
Golda farms now cover 2754.41 hectares in Sadar upazila, 1385 in Kalaroa, 1128.45 in Tala and 364 hectares in Debhata upazila, they said.
Production of golda is 408.29 kilograms per hectare against 265 kilograms of shrimp, said Zakir Hossain, an expert of WorldFish Center which is providing technical support to farmers.
He said it ensures environment friendly cultivation by saving trees and paddy fields in surrounding areas, keeping other fish species intact in the water body.
Golda cultivation in sweet water can revolutionise the fishery sector and increase export earnings from it manifold without destroying the environment, farmers and fishery experts said.
This has brought many shrimp cultivators back to the profession after years of heavy loss, Zakir said.
Like many in the district, Ashrafuzzaman Moina started shrimp cultivation at his North Katia village in Sadar upazila after passing HSC examination in 1993. But he abandoned it after incurring losses in consecutive years and became unemployed again. He is now back to the profession and cultivates golda. His farm now covers about eight bighas of water body.
He achieved success by cultivating golda in sweet water by using the technology provided by WorldFish. He released 35000 fries in two ponds and produced 502 kilograms of golda from last year.
He sold those at Tk 3,50, 000 and earned a net profit of Tk 1, 85,000.
Talking to this correspondent during a recent visit to his farm, Moina said water of the ponds has to be replaced after certain periods. This needs a reservoir.
Golda cultivation is profitable and very much environment friendly, he said.
Many shrimp farmers are become interested to cultivate golda as it involves less risk, he said.
Moina regretted that WorldFish's programme is going to be closed this month. It provided training and technical assistance to farmers.
Around 7000 farmers now cultivate golda in Satkhira district, said Zakir Hossain
Farmers have urged the authorities to take steps so that the WorldFish programme may be continued in the interest of golda and shrimp farmers.
Source: The Daily Star
Submitted by: Zakir Kibria
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