Phulbani: The district administration had plans to scale up fish production in Kandhamal this year by roping in self-help groups (SHGs) under the Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM). However, fish farming at several panchayat ponds has exhibited very poor output
The total production, it has been learnt, was even less than the annual demand in the district.
Local denizens have been depending on Andhra Pradesh to meet their fish demands. Supply from Boudh district also feeds into the district fish markets to a large extent.
Kandhamal administration claims that it has been providing ample funds including costs for training in fish farming. There are three fish production centres at Phulbani, Phiringia and K Nuagaon areas.
Nearly 292 kg of fishlings are fed into the ponds at Phulbani centre. After fish seeds grow bigger, they are shifted to Tandrigaon centre of Phiringia and Sirtiguda centre of K Nuagaon for further processing.
It is alleged that, inadequate government assistance and poor working knowledge have resulted in low fish production. In addition, six posts of assistant fishery officer (AFO) remain vacant as against the sanctioned number of nine posts under 12 blocks in this district.
On being contacted, local assistant fishery officer Gyanaranjan Sethy said, “There is acute shortage of staff in fishery department. Moreover, we are getting insufficient grants for fish farming in Kandhamal district.
Most of the fish ponds do not have adequate water due to lack of maintenance. We are hopeful that SHGs will show good production in the coming days. Apart from SHGs, others also take up fish farming in order to enhance fish production here”.