KADAPA: Farmers of Kadapa district are not only focusing on agriculture but fish farming as well. Already, many farmers in Porumamilla, Jammalamadugu and Chapadu mandals are operating fish ponds. Many more have applied for constructing new ponds.

Officially, there are 130 acres of fish ponds in the Chapadu mandal, 80 acres in Porumamilla and 15 acres in Jammalamadugu mandal. It is agriculture lands that have been converted into fish ponds. Aqua farmers had suffered severe losses due to lack of transport and sales during lockdown because of Coronavirus.

 

But the situation has changed now with the state government recently amending aquaculture regulations and simplifying them for providing assistance to farmers. It has also taken steps to promote fish farming by appointing special committees at the state, district and mandal levels. This has led to many farmers turning to fish farming.

Karnati Narayana Reddy, a farmer from Kuchupapa village of Chapadu mandal, said he has converted 30 acres into fish ponds and has applied for ponds over another 18 acres. He said they buy fish seedlings from farmers of East Godavari or Nellore districts. Each seedling weighs about 8–10 grams. These grow quickly and are ready for harvest in 4–5 months. Narayana Reddy said he has spent about Rs. 1 crore on digging ponds and other works and has already sold fish worth Rs. 80 lakh. Another crop of Rs. 50 lakh is ready for harvest. He said there is no problem with water as his ponds are near the Kundu River.

 

Fisheries farm technician Vasudeva Raju said a well-watered and well-maintained fish farm is always profitable. Selection of feed for fish is very important. He said health of fish should be carefully monitored and necessary medicines given in case of any suspicion. Quality of water too should be monitored regularly. The effort is worth it as fish farming provides more profits than all other food grain crops.

Kadapa District Fisheries Department deputy director Avva Nagaraju told Deccan Chronicle that as water supply in the district is now good and almost all reservoirs are full, many farmers are shifting to fish farming, with government too providing incentives.

 

He said collector Chevuri Harikiran wants to give a further fillip to fish farming in Kadapa district. New permits for fish farms will be issued in a few days and even seedlings will be available from fish hatcheries in Kadapa. Those interested may visit the office of Fisheries Department, Nagaraju added.

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