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Bara to be developed into fishery hub

Bara, February 24, 2017: The government has injected Rs370 million this fiscal year to promote Bara as a fishery hub under the 10-year Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project that envisages adopting modern farm techniques to boost productivity and making the country self-reliant in food.

The number of farmers setting up fish farms and fisheries in the region has increased over the years due to high returns. More farmers have started taking interest in fish farming following the launch of a fish mission programme by the government five years ago. “Now, the government has launched a special project to boost fish output in Bara,” said Yugal Kishore Tiwari, chief of the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project in Bara. As per the plan, the government will create 2,100 pocket areas of 10 hectares each, 150 blocks of 100 hectares each, 30 zones of 500 hectares each and seven super zones of 1,000 hectares each.

Under the super zones, Simroungadh in Bara will be promoted for fishery. He said that Jhapa would be promoted for paddy; Kaski for vegetables; Kavrepalanchok for potato; Dang for maize; Jumla for apple and Kailali for wheat.

The project has encouraged farmers, said Hridiya Narayan Sah, a local farmer at Bhagwanpur village. Sah has been digging ponds in 20 bigas of land to start commercial fish farming. Sah is one of nearly 300 farmers who have applied at the Agriculture Development Office and the project for help. Some are newcomers in the fish farming, while others are expanding their farm. “The project will help farmers to boost productivity as well as establish market linkages. The objective is to make the country self sufficient in fish,” said Tiwari.

Under the super zone scheme, he explained, the project would help farmers to establish fish nursery, dig ponds, establish post harvest centre, among others.  The project will mobilise Rs300 million to make 9,500 new fish ponds and Rs25 million to establish fish nursery on 50 hectares of land. Bara has a huge fish production potential with a productivity of 6 tonnes per hectare against the country’s average of 2 tonnes. The district produces 10,000 tonnes of fish worth Rs2 billion annually.

The fish produced in Bara is supplied to Kathmandu, Pokhara, Mugling, Narayangadh and other urban areas. According to the District Agriculture Development Office, fish farms occupy more than 2,000 hectares in the district and there are nearly 3,000 fish farmers. Tiwari said that fish production is expected to increase by 20 percent next year as farmers have started raising Pangasius and Tilapia fish species.

By Laxmi Sah