Horticulture-Fish Farming উদ্যানশস্যৰ লগত মৎসপালন

~Rimon Sarmah

Introduction

The production system adopted during Green Revolution has been explorative and the natural resources like soil and water were subjected to exploitation, as a result sustainability of agricultural production system has been jeopardized. This suggests the integration of land-based enterprises viz. dairy, fishery, poultry, duckery, apiary, field and horticultural crops within the farm, with the objective of generating adequate income and employment for the small and marginal farmers and thereby improves their livelihoods2. Integrated farming is a multi-commodity farming system which can be defined as an innovation in which two or more commodities are farmed together on a common infrastructural base with the objective to optimize upon use the operational cost. To this end, when a commodity is farmed in combination with fish it is termed as integrated farming or fish based integrated farming. In integrated fish farming, one or several farm commodities are integrated with fish culture keeping the pond as the nucleus of the farm. Integrated farming has immense potentiality to emerge out as an effective tool for improvement of rural economy due to low investment and high profitability 3. 80-85% farmers are small & marginal and have less than 1 ha land, and 15-20% are large farmers with larger land holdings. Integrated farming has bright prospects in India. This is largely because fish culture in India is basically in the hands of people who are the most down-tradden lot of our rural community. It is a means of diversifying farm out puts and producing food for the farmers family. The labour requirement can easily be shared between family members.
Integration of horticulture and fish is an ecofriendly & very income generating practice, not only applicable but also a profitable practice for a small & marginal farmer. This is an example of best integrated system because it does not require any additional infrastructure in terms of input cost, we can use the available space of embankment for grazing horticulture crop.
Integrated fish-horticulture farming
Integration of fruit and vegetable farming on the fishpond embankment has been tested, and has several advantages:
• The farmer gets additional income from growing fruits and vegetables on the pond embankment that normally lies fallow.
• The nutrient-rich pond mud is used as fertilizer for growing crops, eliminating the cost of organic manures.
• Manured pond water is used for irrigation of plants.
• Fruit and vegetable residues are used as feed for the fish.
• The plants on the embankment strengthen the dikes.
The horticulture-cum-fish farming system includes the culture of fruits, vegetables and flowers on the embankment of the pond. The fruits and vegetables contain various nutritive elements and the Indian Council of Medical Research has recommended 85g of fruits and 300g of vegetables to consume daily. For horticulture crop production the inner and outer dykes of the pond and adjoining areas are used. The selection of plant is the main criteria for the success of this system. The plant should be dwarf, seasonal, evergreen, remunerative and less shady. The fruit crops which can be used are Mango, Banana, Papaya, Coconut, Lime etc. and the vegetables like Brinjal, Tomato,Cucumber,Gourds, Chilli,Carrot, Raddish, Turnip, Spinach, Peas, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Ladies finger can be grown according to their season throughout the year. The flower plantation on the embankment is also useful. We can use the plants like Rose, Jasmine, Gladiolus, Marigold and Chrysanthemum etc. which provides additional income to the farmer and beauty to the farm. This system provides 20-25% more return in comparison to aquaculture alone.

Conclusion

Compared to many Farming technologies, horticulture cum fish culture is low cost technology. It saves farmers time, allowing them to undertake double benefit from the same field or area. Data from the horticulture pond shows the increment in yield of fish as well as vegetable production. It is expected that the higher productivity from the horticulture pond is due to the enrichment of water due to presence of nutrient in the form of organic manure. This is a viable option for augmenting overall farm productivity and better economic return of rural pond based farming community. There are lots of options in integrated farming system, but in Dewas district scenario, huge numbers of seasonal ponds so, pond based integrated farming practice may be one of the significant, efficient and viable option for small and marginal farmers.
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~Rimon Sarmah,1st year, 1st Semester, College of Fisheries, AAU, Raha.

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