In the Cuddalore district, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has awarded a grant of *24.90 lakh to execute an Integrated Mangrove Fishery Farming System (IMFFS). It has been confirmed that the project will be funded by the M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and aims to enhance the adaptive capacity of fishermen. Using traditional and Irula fishers from Mudasalodai and Kalaignar coastal hamlets in Pichavaram, the project is being implemented on 2.10 hectares of land in Mudasalodai village. Mangroves are integrated with fish culture under the Integrated Mangrove Fishery Farming System.
DESIGN OF FARMING
The earthen ponds are modified such that 30% of their area is devoted to the cultivation of mangroves and the rest to fishing, a new type of farming system said S. Velvizhi, Principal Scientist at the Fish for All Research and Training Centre, MSSRF.
They are designed to be tidally fed, so they are more environmentally friendly and profitable. Having mangroves would mitigate the effects of rising sea levels, while a sustained fish harvest would lead to the increased adaptive capacity for coastal communities, she said.
The farm pond was designed in a mitochondrial pattern and is tide-fed. In the development of the pond, weeds were removed, waterlogged areas were deepened, pond bunds were strengthened, floral and faunal diversity was analyzed, and mangrove plants were planted.
NABARD CHIEF STATEMENT
T. Venkatakrishna, NABARD’s Chief General Manager, recently visited the project site and interacted with stakeholders. Venkatakrishna also suggested that MSSRF help community members form Farmers Produce Organizations. According to him, MSSRF can also train villagers in fish processing and seed production. Vijay Neehar, NABARD’s District Development Manager, was present.
Climate change, in particular sea-level rise, has further weakened vulnerable coastal areas of India. This solution allows local residents to adapt to the situation in a sustainable way. An innovative brackish water farming system is planned and implemented based on socioeconomic and ecological factors. As part of this system, mangrove plantations and aquaculture are integrated with outer and inner bunds (dams) built to combat cyclones and sea-level rise, while aquaculture is planted along water spread areas to generate income.