RDRS to produce additional 6,000 tonnes Tilapia fish in rice fields in 10 N-dists
by Mamun Islam
RANGPUR, Bangladesh, Sept 3 (BSS) – Rangpur-Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS) has launched a massive project of producing quality fingerlings and GIFT Tilapia fish in ice fields this season to bring economic self-reliance and improve the livelihood of common people.
After bringing targeted 21,000 farmers of 10 northern districts under the three-year term project to be completed by June, 2011, they will produce six crore GIFT Tilapia fingerlings and 6,000 tonnes additional Tilapia fish worth Taka six crore, experts said here today.
RDRS in collaboration with 12 partner organisations has been implementing the project in Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Gaibandha, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts involving 10,000 farmers this year.
The project, Funded by Department of International Development (DFID), the UK-based Natural Resources International Ltd, is also being implemented simultaneously by twelve coalition partners in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Director (Resources & Environment) of RDRS and Team Leader of the “Enhancing impacts of decentralized (fish) seed production (EIDSP)” Dr Syed Shamsuzzaman and Head of Agriculture of RDRS MG Neogi and experts today narrated the project to BSS.
They said that the poor and low- income group people, small and marginal farmers, women and socially excluded group could increase their annual household incomes and fish consumptions by culturing fish in their rice fields in South Asia.
Besides, Dr Zaman narrated various aspects, ways and possible impacts of the project in Rajshahi division of Bangladesh, West Bengal and Nepal at a recent inception workshop on EIDSP project organised by RDRS here before launching the project.
Regional Director for Bangladesh and South Asia of World Fish Centre Alan C Brooks, Professor of the University of Stirling in the UK Dr David Little, Project Coordinator of EIDSP Sattyanarayan Roy, Head of Organisation Development of Practical Action Dr Faruk-Ul-Islam, Dr Madhav Shrestha from Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science of Nepal, Dr Mahfuzul Haque from Bangladesh University of Agriculture and Kuddus Ansary from Onestop Aqua Shop in India attended.
Citing various complexities and adverse impacts of the ongoing global climate changes at alarming rates, Dr Zaman and Neogi said the things have been changed a lot over the past decades and fish production has been reduced by and large side by side with disappearances of the indigenous species of fishes.
Most of the rivers, water bodies, flood plains, ponds, beels and haors are being dried up and crops being cultivated on their beds using pesticides and insecticides that have further accelerated extinction of the indigenous species of sweet water fishes.
Besides, fish production is being hampered due to non- availability of quality fish fingerlings in the rural areas of Rajshahi division including greater Rangpur, Dinajpur and Barind regions, they said.
As a result, popularizing of the proven technology of farming fingerlings in rice fields using natural waters during the crop farming seasons thrice a year could help make supply of quality fingerlings, especially of Tilapia and common variety carp fishes.
A total of 60,000 fingerling producers will be developed in greater Rangpur and Dinajpur alone to raise the number of fish producers to up to six lakh in the region and more 1,000 farmers in Nepal and West Bengal after completion of the project by June, 2011 next, they said.
This project will remove barriers and help expedite expansion of fish culture by producing fingerlings in rice eco-systems and seasonal ponds, flood plains and ditches to help the poor getting access to quality fingerlings, increased incomes and better livelihoods.
The experts asked all stakeholders to make the system for producing fingerlings and fish culture in rice fields and tiny water bodies popular to get the desired results in these countries to further scale-up the project in the international arena.
They told that hundreds of people have been successfully earning better profits, meeting their nutritional demands by farming GIFT Tilapia in their rice fields and the process still continues in northern Bangladesh this season.
The poor farmers having only 5 to10 decimal rice field can stock 10 to15 GIFT Tilapia brood and to produce healthy fingerlings in the poverty- prone region and make money through producing healthy fingerlings in their tiny rice fields.
During March to April when Boro rice is in the fields, farmers’ stock GIFT Tilapia broods in tiny ditches of rice fields or house hold ditches having some water feed them with household rice bran only, officials in the District Fisheries Office (DFO) here said.
Within 2-3 months, the farmers produce GIFT Tilapia fingerlings that continue till November and sell those to neighbours and Fingerling Traders, the experts said.
The poorer families and their children are now eating Tilapia fishes regularly to meet their nutritional deficiency side by side earning extra incomes from alternative sources to improve livelihoods from their tiny rice fields to eradicate poverty.
Farmers Hafiza Begum of village Mirpara in Panchagarh, Sumitra Rani of Dharmopur Adhikaripara and Keshob Chandra of Kostor in Thakurgaon, Abdul Haque of Dakshin Dhononjoy in Kurigram and Alema Begum of Khejurtola village in Nilphamari narrated BSS about their successes in producing fingerlings and fish this season.
“We are very happy to get excellent profits by producing and selling GIFT Tilapia fingerlings and fishes by cultivating in our tiny rice fields, household ponds, flood plains and other water bodies,” they said adding that their children are also eating fish daily.