Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said his government is looking at converting a minimum of 5000 water area into fish ponds to meet the local consumption in the state.
The state which consumes approximately 25,000 tonne of fish, imported 2000 km away from Andhra Pradesh and other fish producing state, aims to cut import to about 5000 tonne by producing over 20,000 tonne by the end of 2018, Sangma said.
Urging the partners of Aquaculture mission to increase their water areas for fish farming and expand the programme, the Chief Minister said, “Even to meet local consumption of fish, a minimum of 5000 water area has to be brought under fish ponds.”
Addressing the 3rd state Aqua-Fest today, he said the programme under the state’s aqua culture mission is also credit-linked through the Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank (MCAB) and re-financed from the National Scheduled Tribe Finance Development Corporation at a very low interest rate of 6 per cent only.
According to the chief minister, the government has to provide Rs 400 crore plus to meet the target.
Earlier, Fisheries department director I R Sangma said Rs 88 crore which includes bank loan and subsidy has been invested so far and more than 11000 ponds have been created and 8400 have been recommended and are at various stages of implementation.
Another Rs 2 5 crore have been invested for seed production and for creating fish feed mills, she said.
Progressive and successful Aquaculture entrepreneurs from all the 11 districts were also given the state award carrying a cash prize of Rs 10,000 and a memento each.