Hyderabad: After ushering in the green revolution post Statehood, Telangana is now riding the wave of blue revolution with the State surging ahead in fisheries, thanks to several key interventions by the government to strengthen production factors including stabilising Water Spread Area (WSA), free fingerling stocking and welfare schemes for the fisherfolk.
Not only have these interventions led to an impressive improvement in the lifestyle of fisherfolk, but it has also led to a gradual loosening of the grip that middlemen had over the supply chain resulting in the fishermen community retaining a larger part of the value created in key areas of the supply chain. Consequently, the average income levels of Fishermen Cooperative Societies (FCSs) and individual members have seen a significant jump.
Mangalapalli Vishweshwer, a fisheries enthusiast who has done extensive research in the field over the past three years, told Telangana Today that the fisheries sector in the State has the potential to emerge as a $2 to 3 billion industry. “There is a huge demand for fish from Telangana since freshwater fish is a rarity in the country. And Telangana’s fish production is entirely from freshwater since it is a land-locked State,” Vishweshwer, who has studied the lifecycle from stocking through harvesting and marketing said.
The number of FCSs grew by 15 per cent from 4,002 in 2016-17 to 4,604 in 2020-21 while the membership grew by eight per cent during the same period from 2.85 lakh in 2016-17 to 3.09 lakh in 2020-21. This is a logical pattern as more and more smaller water bodies are being added to fingerling stocking capacity.
There is a growing demand for membership that is evident from about 35,000 pending membership applications. The average income at the society level has grown by 105 per cent from Rs 33.88 lakh in 2016-17 to Rs 68.22 lakh. This also reflects the rise of individual member incomes from Rs 47,453 in 2016-17 to Rs 1,01,433 in 2020-21, he said.
The overall cumulative value of fish produce that got accrued to the community in the last five years amounts to Rs 11,606.6 crore which is a very conservative estimate as the average price estimate at tank site is taken between Rs 70 to Rs 95 over the five year period.
Fisheries Commissioner Lachiram Bhukya told ‘Telangana Today’ that seed stocking was one of the initiatives that helped in bringing about the change. As against 800 tanks in 2014, seed stocking was carried out in 18,000 tanks and the department decided to take it up in 28,000 tanks this time around. A decision was also taken to stock fish seed in all the 82 reservoirs in the State, he said.
“We are also encouraging aquaculture in the State and it has already come up in 2,000 hectares in the State. More and more people are evincing keen interest in it,” the Commissioner explained. Under the Integrated Fisheries Development Scheme, marketing infrastructure was improved at every place resulting in per capita consumption in every place, giving them vehicles to sell their catch.
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