The farmers of Sonmar chaur in Sarai Ranjan block of Samastipur district have showed a way for productive utilization of chaur area to a integrated aquaculture. The chaur is spread over 44 ha of land having the ownership of about 43 farmers. Till 2008, the chaur was being utilized for capture of wild fishes. In 2009, two young farmers from the area were trained by ICAR Research Complex for Eastern Region, Patna and four farmers got training from Central Institute of Fisheries Education Regional Station, Kakinada by the state Fisheries Department, Government of Bihar. These farmers decided to change the face of Chaur into a productive one.
State Fishery Department, Govt. of Bihar with the help of local United Bank, Kshetriya Gramin Bank and Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana constructed a series of ponds (48 Nos) in the chaur for fish production. Forty three farmers formed Sonmar Chaur Matsya Vikash Samiti to monitor the activities, facilitate the resources, inputs and marketing of products. Due to delayed rainfall, tubewells were constructed in several locations and a solar operated pump was also established with the help of Fishery Department.
ICAR Research Complex for Eastern region joined the farmers to work in participatory mode to boost the economic status and nutritional security of the farmers by enhancing the aquaculture / agriculture production from the chaur. Since, farmers are not able to feed the fish properly due to high cost of concentrate, ICAR-RCER has integrated duck, goat and cattle with fish to facilitate the supply of organic wastes to improve the overall productivity of the chaur. Both, National Horticulture Mission and ICAR-RCER have planted fruits and vegetable crops on the bunds of the pond for enhancement of productivity of land and water. Several demonstrations for fish farmers for monitoring of water quality in the pond during the year 2012 were also exhibited by the institute.
Further, for creating awareness among fish farmers, a programme was organized by the institute on 6th December 2012 at Sonmar chaur. About 80 farmers, fishermen, scientists from ICAR and officials from State Fishery Department participated in the programme where planning for further development of the chaur area was discussed. For utilization of bunds horticulture crop plantation, vertical farming, organic mode of production and integrated farming system mode of production were proposed beside economic fish feeding, production of quality fish seed and capacity building of farmers. This chaur has now become a successful model for development of other chaurs in Bihar.
(Source: ICAR-RCER, Patna)