ICAR-CIBA Developed a Working Model to Scale up the distribution of “Soil and Water Heath Cards” to Brackishwater Aquaculture Farmers

Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture is the first institute initiated the distribution of soil and water health cards (SWHC) in fisheries sector. The Institute has distributed about 705 SWHCs since 2015. As it is not possible to issue the SWHCs to a large number of aquaculture farmers by collecting and analyzing the samples throughout the country by the Institute, CIBA developed a working model by impressing upon the fisheries colleges and private aquaculture laboratories existing in a particular district to analyze the samples at free of cost.

During 2017, this model was tested in Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh. Awareness was created among the farmers about the importance of SWHC through media coverage and about 370 soil and 260 source water samples were collected from aquaculture farms. The samples were analyzed at Fisheries College Nellore and three Private Aqua laboratories viz., Alpha Biologicals Pvt. Ltd., The Waterbase Ltd of KCT Group Trust and Blue Shell Aqua Analytical Lab. The technical backstop and validation for the analysis was provided by CIBA.

In this regard, Brackishwater Aquaculture Farmers Meetings were organized by the Institute in Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh on 21st and 22nd December 2017 at Kota and Allur, respectively under National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) Project. About 222 and 225 numbers participated in the meetings at Kota and Allur, respectively.

During the meetings, about 190 SWHCs were distributed to aqua farmers in presence of Dr.P.Haribabu, Associate Dean, College of Fisheries Science, Muthukur, Shri Lalmohammed, DD Fisheries, Gudur, Dr.K.Ganesh, Asst. Director, MPEDA, Nellore, Dr.M.Muralidhar, Principal Scientist & PI, NICRA Project, CIBA and Dr.C.P.Balasubramanian, HOD In-Charge, Crustacean Culture Division, CIBA. The issues related to brackishwater aquaculture in the changing climatic scenario and other emerging issues were discussed in the farmers–scientist interactive session. Farmers have appreciated the initiative of SWHC distribution by CIBA in in PPP mode. This model was successful and ready for the distribution of SWHCs to a larger number of aquaculture farmers in coastal states of the country.

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