September 5, 2008

Indian project instills confidence in contract hatcheries and good farm practices


Good results from an effort to organise India's shrimp farmers into societies to learn better farm management practices is prompting more farmers to do so.


Farmers are learning that better farm management practices and contract hatchery systems can help farmers reduce disease incidences and get better yields and profits. 


The Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NaCSA) has organized more than 100 farmers' societies in Andhra Pradesh.


The first three societies in Krishna were organized in Penduru village, which is located in Bantumilli mandal of Krishna District. Out of 164 farmers operating 600 acres of shrimp farms in Penduru, 63 farmers formed into three societies in the village earlier in the year.


The farmers agreed to follow the better management practices (BMPs) starting with getting disease free seed through the contract hatchery system where farmers collectively placed bulk orders to a hatchery, with an agreement facilitated by the NaCSA team.


The agreement included screening broodstock for disease, using only disease free broodstock for seed production, single spawner systems, and non-usage of banned antibiotics.


So far, none of the three Penduru societies ponds were affected by disease whereas more than half the non-society ponds in the area were affected with white spot disease this summer.


The project has also seen increased confidence in the contract hatchery system. Before the demonstration, farmers from this area never went to hatcheries to purchase seed, depending on poor quality seed from commercial nurseries.


The project has proven that they could get good quality seed through the contract hatchery system.


Also, through efficient use of feed and other resources, including reduced use of chemicals, all the farmers achieved a very good profit for the first time in many years.


The success of the Penduru farmers have encouraged more neighbouring farmers and farmers from abandoned pond areas to come forward to organize themselves into societies.

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