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Fish farmers’ conclave held
Staff Correspondent
 SHILLONG, April 25 - After holding the first ‘Farmer’s Parliament’ last year, Meghalaya has added another feather to its cap by holding the first fish farmers’ conclave here today.

In the two-day conclave, fish farmers from the State shared their experiences for greater partnership. The conclave was also attended by Minister in charge of Fisheries, C Ymbon.

The conclave is being held to boost aquaculture as the State has launched the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission 2.0 from April 1. However, the first phase of the aquaculture mission was disappointing. The State continues to face a supply deficit of over 20,000 metric tonnes annually.

It has been able to produce just over 12,000 metric tonnes of fish against the State’s demand of over 33,000 metric tonnes despite huge investment in the sector.

The second phase of the aquaculture mission has received a fund of Rs 378 crore. With this investment, emphasis will be given to increase productivity, the area under fish farms, infrastructure, conservation, capacity building and human resources in the fisheries sector.

Officials said there are now 22,000 fish farmers in the State and therefore, the idea of having a Meghalaya Fish Farmers’ Association in the State has been mooted.

Ymbon, meanwhile said, the conclave would help in the sharing of experience and knowledge among the stakeholders in the fisheries sector.

“The Government has identified fisheries as a key sector since fish production in the State is very low and the department has taken several measures to augment fish production in the State,” he added.

The minister stated that the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission with its motto ‘from dependence to self-sufficiency’ is a new chapter for the Fisheries Department with new features incorporated.

Different programmes and mini missions, which are farmer-friendly, are being incorporated in the second phase of the aquaculture mission to maximise fish production through technological interventions and creation of new water bodies, Ymbon said.

Moreover, quality fish seeds will be made available. Stress will also be laid on scientific feeding and improved managerial practices to improve fish production.

The minister added that since fish is a perishable commodity, market linkage is also being given a priority while taking care of human resource development and capacity building of all stakeholders under this mission.

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