“Farming crops plus pisciculture can ensure income and nutritional security”

Laishram ShamungouIMPHAL, Jan 30: Experts are claiming that in today’s rapidly changing climatic conditions, the practice of farming and rearing fishes at the same field is a great source for both income security and nutritional security.From the early days, many areas of Manipur, specially in regions like Senapati and Ukhrul, people have been practising terrace farming in which they both plant crops and rear fish in the same fields.Speaking to The Sangai Express, a former chairman of  Tungjoy village, Senapati, Th David said that the villagers or farmers dig a small pond in their fields and this helps in both retaining water for the fishes to survive apart from helping in irrigating the crops.He narrated that in the past, when there were large amounts of forest cover in the area, water sources/springs were abundant as well.Even though the number of such water sources have decreased rapidly, the villagers are still continuing the practice of farming cum pisciculture, he said.On the other hand, one PS Thole Cain of Purul village said that all of the households in his village have atleast 2-3 ponds for the purpose of farming cum pisciculture.After keeping some fishes for consumption, the people can earn around Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 per year by selling the remaining fishes.He continued that the water sources in the village had declined due to the reduction of forest cover but recently, after felling of trees was banned, the number of springs also rose.Now the people are realising that  more number of trees result in replenishing of the springs and other water bodies, he said that currently, the villagers are engaged only in terrace cultivation.Other activities like felling of trees, hunting etc have been banned, he added.PS Thole Cain said that the village has an area which is as big as 4-5 playgrounds and in this area, the villagers are free to plant or cultivate what they want.As other activities which can harm the environment have been banned, the village is safe from drought or other harsh environmental conditions, he said, claiming that the village was not affected by the drought last year as well due to this positive practice.ICAR Imphal scientist Dr Ningombam Arti stressed on the positive benefits of farming cum pisciculture practised in the hill areas of Manipur and said that such a practice, which has been passed down from the ancient days, is a great source for both income and nutritional securities.Stating that ample water sources resulting from this practice, have also benefited the farmers in other ways, she opined that if the villagers are provided with solar dyers to dry their fish, it will provide more opportunity for income generation.Such practice can be adopted in the valley area of Manipur, she said adding that experts can also be consulted for selection of the fish best suited to this practice.Central Agriculture University (CAU) Deputy Director (Planning) Dr Yumnam Devjit said that the practice of farming cum pisciculture helps in retaining water apart from helping increase fish production.On the other hand, Directorate of Environment and Climate Change Deputy Director T Brajakumar said that farming cum pisciculture practice helps the ecosystem by increasing the fertility and moisture level of the soil.This practise adopted by the villages, is one of the best practice for climate change adaptation.It will be very helpful in the long run if the Government helps in promoting this practice. This will also ensure that the practice is adopted by other Himalayan States as well, he opined.This report is filed under the State Level Climate Change Media Fellowship of the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change

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