‘Fish on wheels’ change lifestyle of fishermen


The Hindu

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The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Hyderabad, Government of India came up with the simple intervention of assisting fish farmers, fishermen and vendors with motorcycles and ice boxes.

 

Marketing of fish in good condition is a challenge particularly in areas along reservoirs, dams and rivers.

Unlike near the sea shore in many places crushed ice or slabs are not readily available for preserving the fish.

The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Hyderabad, Government of India came up with the simple intervention of assisting fish farmers, fishermen and vendors with motorcycles and ice boxes.

Impressive impact

“We found the impact impressive. Fish reaches consumers fast and in good condition. It is also available on demand as vendors share their mobile numbers with customers. The vendor is able to sell at least 50 kg in a day — much more than what they could before (between 10 to 12 kg a day.) Many a time, fish used to become stale because they could not sell due to physical limitation of time and distance. Now, they are able to go to distant places to get better price and market which was not possible before,” says Dr. M.V.Rao, IAS, Chief Executive, National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad.

Mr. N. Narasimhulu and his fellow fishermen catch fish in the Krishna river at Beechpalli landing point in Mahabubnagar district, Telangana.

When the river water dries up, they have to go quite far upstream to catch fish. Thanks to the mopeds funded by the NFDB, he and seventeen fellow fishermen are able to save time. He is also able to earn Rs. 800 to Rs.1000 as extra income a day.

The story is similar in Bidar, Solapur, Cuttack, Karimnagar and many places in Jharkhand and Chattisgarh.

Case study

A similar case study shows that Mr. Razzack Lalshab in Hotgi village near Solapur in Maharashtra and others of the Haji Fardeen Baba Fishermen Cooperative Society are dependent on fishing and its marketing for their livelihood.

Belonging to a nomadic tribe they used to sell at nearby places or to middlemen who decided on the price and paid them a low price.

But after getting assistance from NFDB for procuring mopeds and ice boxes they started selling more quantities for a better price thus bringing about a significant change in their income levels. Similarly in Bidar, Karnataka, fishermen of the Janwada Fishermen Cooperative Society and members of other similar societies like Basava Kalyan had been havoing a difficult time marketing their fish.

They catch fish from the tanks leased to them by the state fisheries department apart from fishing in rivers and streams. The Board helped them financially thus helping them to earn some extra income.

NFDB started implementing this mission of reaching at least one lakh fish vendors across the country.

Expectation

“We expect this step from us will result in higher income for one lakh families and minimum of one million tonnes of extra quantity of fish marketed in a year in the country,” says Dr. Rao.

The board recently organised a meeting of these champions. Nearly 500 fish farmers and vendors from across the states attended and shared their experiences. Both farmers and vendors expressed the opinion that they were able to get a profit margin of 20 to 40 rupees per kg of fish caught and sold.

Past issues

Several fish growers and vendors felt poverty and related stress on family are past issues thanks to improved marketing resulting in higher incomes which they have not seen in their lives.

“Fishermen from across the country and those interested to take up fish rearing (both table and ornamental varieties) as whole time profession are welcome to contact us,” says Mr. Rao.

For more details get in touch with Dr. M.V. Rao, IAS, Chief Executive, National Fisheries Development Board, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad- 500 052, phone :040 2401553, Mobile:97034 40004, email: mvraoforindia@gmail.com, website: nfdb.gov.in

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