To check forced, augment farm income, Uttarakhand govt to introduce trout farming

In Uttarakhand, only 40 metric tonnes trout is produced per annum. Officials say the state has capacity to produce upto 2000 metric tonnes trout

dehradun Updated: Apr 10, 2018 23:11 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
According to the official, the blueprint to realise the state’s full trout production capacity has already been prepared.(HT File)

To check forced migration from the hills, Uttarakhand would help augment farmers’ income by encouraging them to raise trouts (cold water fish) as part of an integrated farming project. The project is likely to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May, an official said.

“The Prime Minister will inaugurate the Rs 2600-crore integrated farming project next month. Enhancing trout production would be one of the components of the mega project,” said secretary, department of animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries R Meenakshi Sundaram.

“The integrated farming project aims at checking distress migration from the hills by augmenting farmers’ income,” Sundaram said.

Besides trout farming, sectors such as horticulture, sheep & goat rearing, dairy farming, and mushroom cultivation are some other components under the mega integrated farming project. “It will be implemented in collaboration with National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC),” Sundaram added.

Giving details of the project, the official said that under the scheme, trout farming would be encouraged in a big way with an aim to augment the marginalised hill farmers’ income. “We enlisted trout farming under the project because this sector has a tremendous income generating potential in the state, which is grossly underutilized,” he said, adding trouts, being cold water fish, are found in abundance in the glacier-fed rivers originating from the region.

“Besides, trouts are considered a delicacy and are in great demand in niche market especially among the people with high paying capacity,” Sundaram said.

In Uttarakhand, the production level of trout, a fish endemic to the Himalayan states is, however, abysmal. “As of now, per annum, only 40 metric tonnes of trouts are produced in the state as against the state’s total per annum production capacity of 2000 metric tonnes. “Under the exclusive trout project to be launched soon, we aim to raise the production level of the cold water fish up to 1000 metric tonnes annually in the next three years,” Sundaram said. “Like this, we will move on to achieve the state’s full annual trout production capacity (2000 metric tonnes) in next few years.”

According to the official, the blueprint to realise the state’s full trout production capacity has already been prepared. “The best part is that we have in the central Himalayan region a plenty of glacier-fed rivers which form an ideally suited ecosystem for a cold water fish,” Sundaram said.

However, the farmers would be encouraged to develop trout hatcheries in glacier-fed streams as the speed of their flow is slower compared to the rivers. “These hatcheries would be developed in rivulets in areas above 4,500 metre altitude, where trouts are found,” he said, adding a trout zone mapping of potential areas suitable for production of cold water fish had been carried out.

Under the project, farmers would create channels along rivulets. “Water from these rivulets would be taken to the channels farmers will create before it flows back into the rivulets,” Sundaram said. Also known as ‘raceways’, these channels, or, trout hatcheries, would be fenced on both ends with wire mesh. “Such raceways will be created so that trout fingerlings remain inside hatcheries and are not washed away into the rivulets,” the official said. “Once those fingerlings develop into fish, they would be transported to five star hotels in Delhi and the National Capital Region and even Mumbai where they are in great demand.”

The fish would also be transported to upmarket hotels in Western Uttar Pradesh besides Dehradun and Mussoorie. “A cold chain will also be developed so that trouts could be transported to those areas in fresh condition,” Sundaram clarified.

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 23:11 IST