60 hectares of land turns into fish pondsMore than 60 hectares of land has been converted for commercial fish farming in Morang district in the last two years under the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Modernization Project. This is less than 10 percent of the target envisaged by the government.
More than 60 hectares of land has been converted for commercial fish farming in Morang district in the last two years under the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Modernization Project. This is less than 10 percent of the target envisaged by the government.
In the last fiscal year, the government allocated Rs176.8 million to convert 500 hectares of land to ponds to raise fish, but only 45 hectares has been converted for fishery purposes so far. As a result, funds totalling Rs150 million remained unspent. This year, only 15 hectares of land was added.
“This year, Rs20 million was earmarked under the project,” said Nunu Lal Urab, chief of the fishery project. “The allocated budget was spent to convert 15 hectares of land for fish farming.” He said that the project had aimed to add 50 hectares in the next fiscal year.
In 2016, the government launched the 10-year Prime Minister’s Agriculture Modernization Project with the objective of making the country self-sufficient in fish by 2019. Morang is one of the areas which the government has declared as a fishery zone. Bara has been declared a fish super zone.
In a bid to encourage farmers to take up commercial fish farming, the government has offered a subsidy of Rs300,000 per hectare for farmers to dig ponds.
The project was launched in Katari and Dhanpalthan in Morang and Rangeli Municipality, declaring them as a fishery development zone. Last year, 51 farmers dug 147 new ponds on 40 hectares of land for commercial fish farming under the project. The plan has envisaged making Morang self-sufficient in fish within 10 years by expanding the fishery command area to 1,141 hectares from the current 641 hectares. This will increase fish production from 3,000 tonnes to 7,000 tonnes annually. This year, the project aims to produce 5,000 tonnes of fish.
Currently, fish productivity in Morang stands at 4 tonnes per hectare. The project aims to increase productivity to 6 tonnes per hectare by adopting improved technology.