Workshop on “Soil and Water Health Cards Distribution to Brackishwater Aquaculture Farmers” at Mamallapuram on 19th December, 2015

In a major step towards achieving sustainable aquaculture of shrimp and finfish farming in brackishwaters, Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) has begun the process of issuing ‘Soil and Water Health Cards (SWHC), to a group of 44 shrimp farmers hailing from state of Tamilnadu. The card were released and distributed for farmers involved in aquaculture, at a workshop on 'Soil and water health card distribution to brackishwater aquaculture farmers' organised on the occasion of Celebration of International Year of Soils- 2015, at Mahabalipuram, near Chennai.
This is the first time in the country, soil and water health cards are being issued in fisheries sector. Early this year, Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi has announced a similar scheme for agricultural farmers with a target of distributing, 14 crore soil health cards over a span of next 3 years. Emphasizing the importance of soil and water health card CIBA Director Dr. KK Vijayan said that long term sustainability in aquaculture depends on the maintenance of soil health and water quality and advised the farmers to have optimum stocking densities and follow better management practices (BMP) to preserve the soil and water quality. He also assured that CIBA will provide all technical support to the farmers. Under the scheme, soil and water samples will be tested in CIBA laboratories and experts will analyse the strength and weaknesses of the soil and water before suggesting measures to deal with it. The information provided in the cards are useful to farmers in understanding the nutrient status of the soil and water quality, which will help in managing the pond soil and water parameters within the optimum level.
Member Secretary, Coastal Aquaculture Authority P Ravichandran said that primarily it is the responsibility of the farmers to keep the soil and water quality within the optimum levels. He emphasized the role of biosecurity and BMP in shrimp farms and advised all the farmers to follow strictly.
Principal Scientist, Unit head of soil and water quality department, CIBA M Muralidhar, explained about the importance of Soil and Water Health card in aquaculture and its benefits to farmers. The soil samples have been collected from the farmer’s ponds of TN, AP, WB and Gujarat, and CIBA will take this initiative forward. During Technical Session, Dr.S.V.Alavandi, HOD of Aquatic Animal Health & Environment, explained about the soil and water quality importance in relation to current scenario of diseases in L.vannamei farming and Scientists of Environment Section of CIBA Drs. R.Saraswathy and P.Kumararaja demonstrated the protocols for collection and submission of soil and water samples to the laboratory. Fisheries Department Officials from the state of Tamilnadu and other aquaculture stakeholders attended the Workshop.

Dr. Muralidhar, Head , Soil and water unit, CIBA welcoming the farmers

Dr. KK Vijayan, Director, ICAR-CIBA interacting with farmers

Dr. P. Ravichandran, Member Secretary, CAA, delivering chief guest address

Farmer receiving ICAR-CIBA Soils and Water Health Card

Soil sampling procedure being demonstrated by CIBA scientists

Scientists interacting with farmers on advantages of SWHC

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