The tribal belt of Chandan Chouki in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh is spread over 300 km2 and inhabited by 99 % tharu population, in about 40 hamlets and 15 Gramsabhas. The tribal area is blessed with plenty of water resources such as about 90 ponds of different sizes (0.08 -1.5 ha), rivers, tributaries and wetlands. Besides fish farming, most of the tribal populations are also engaged in fishing activities in the nearby rivers and connected wetlands.
Tharus are fond of non-vegetarian food but local produce are insufficient to fulfill the demands. Realizing the potential of fisheries in this area for raising income of tribal populations, Allahabad Regional Centre of ICAR- Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI) identified this belt under Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) and conducted multiple fisheries development activities in the region, since 2011-12.
The Centre’s strategy was to create awareness, conduct training cum demonstrations and empower the tribal populations by distribution of fish seed, feed and fishing nets. An exposure visit to Khutar Hatchery, Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh was also conducted for the fish farmers to educate them about ongoing breeding, nursery rearing, feeding and disease control activities. As a result of the continuous efforts of the Centre and assistance in the form of inputs, the farmers started utilizing all the available ponds under scientific methods of fish farming and producing table size fish for own consumption and also for sale.
After successful completion of training and demonstration by the Centre, quality fish seed in the form of fingerlings (430 kg., comprising Indian Major Carps and Exotic Carps) was distributed to 80 tharu fish farmers and stocked in their ponds during August-September 2014. Besides seed, other inputs like feed and lime were also distributed in phased manner. The body weight of the fingerlings at the time of stocking varied from 10 to 25 g. The fingerlings attained considerable weight (350 - 750 g) within six months of stocking, even though the region felt severe prolonged winter during the period. The results indicate that the fish production from the region would double at the end of the season. Some of the farmers started fish sale from their ponds.
Since initiation of fisheries development activities in the region, different inputs including drag nets (15) and cast nets (40), fish feed, potash, pH paper and lime were also distributed by the Centre. The drag nets were distributed to the respective Gram Pradhans for sharing by the fish farmers of the allotted village. The cast nets were distributed among the participants of training programme. The tribal populations are evincing keen interest in various fisheries related developmental activities being undertaken by CIFRI.
Now this tribal belt is largely adopting fish culture on scientific methods and heading towards blue revolution.
(Source: Allahabad Regional Centre of ICAR- Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Allahabad)