Farmers turning to fish farming using barren, saline land in Haryana’s Sirsa
Saline land and saline water, which is considered a curse for agriculture, is proving to be a boon for farmers of Sirsa district in Haryana, officials said on Saturday.
There is a lot of land in Haryana, which was often left barren due to rise in saline water level, but farmers have started earning more money by doing business of shrimp fisheries through crop diversification as compared to what they used to earn from other crops, state agriculture minister JP Dalal said.
Fish farming is now being done in 785 acre land in Haryana, of which 400 acre is in Sirsa, he said.
Sirsa adjoining the border of Rajasthan and Punjab at the last end of Haryana has the highest number of cultivators in state.
In Sirsa, farmers have mainly been cultivating narma, cotton, guar, paddy and wheat since the beginning. Due to adoption of traditional farming, where groundwater went down considerably in some places, thousands of acres became saline, while the water level came up farmers’ production stopped on such land. The economic condition of the farmers was also disturbed due to non-fertility of the land.
Keeping in view the condition of farmers, the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana was implemented to promote the Blue Revolution, Dalal said.
Farmers of Sirsa took up this scheme and it is proving to be effective in strengthening the economic base of farmers, the minister said.
District fisheries officer Jagdish Chandra said there is immense potential for fish farming in saline water and saline land. Under the scheme, there is a provision of grant of maximum 40% of the unit cost by the government for the general category and 60% of the unit cost for the SC/ST/women category, he said.
At present, the scheme of the department of fisheries is proving to be beneficial for fish farmers. Farmers interested in fisheries can apply for grants to buy vehicles (motorcycles, cycles and three-wheelers) for making ponds on land, fish farming in salt water, shrimp farming and selling fish, he said.
He said white prawn rearing is also being done on about 400 acre in district.
Of these, 35 acre is in Chormar Kheda village, 32 acre in Gudiya Kheda, 16 acre in Mithdi including Bhangu, Jhordwali, Phoolo, Odhan, Darba Kalan, Manak Dewan, Asha Kheda, Karmshana, Chautala village, etc.
Buyers from Telangana and West Bengal are coming in to buy white shrimp being produced in Sirsa. From here, the fish is exported to various countries, including China.
Dalal reviewed the fish farming business in a state-level meeting, in which he has given a target of 600 acre of fisheries business. He said soon, Sirsa will emerge as a pilot project in fisheries across country.
Meanwhile, farmers have demanded the state government to set up a water testing laboratory in Sirsa to support the business.