Mini Mission - I: Area Expansion
Expansion of fish production in the State to fill the wide and growing gap between demand and supply is the central focus of the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission. Demand projections indicate that the demand for fish will grow at an annual rate of 9.0 to 10.0 percent in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Plan periods. Area and Productivity Expansion Mini-Mission (MM-I) seeks to address this issue. It has two components - one is construction of new ponds, known as Area Expansion, and the other is availing the existing water resources for fish culture, known as Production Intensification.
Construction of new ponds will be taken up mostly on the individual lands. But some ponds will also be constructed on community lands if the community comes forward with land and also makes some contribution in the construction of pond by way of labour. Meghalaya has a large body of community lands and the recent experience shows that fish ponds constructed on the village common lands are successful in achieving socio-economic development of the village, as also in harmonising the village communities.
The State has several water bodies called marshy and swampy lands and bheels which are under the control of the community. Fish production can be taken up in these lands if the community contributes their share in renovation and is also willing to maintain it afterwards. The State has also several water bodies in the form of reservoirs and lakes. While the water is primarily used for agriculture, it can also be used for the production of fish. These two production activities will intensify production on existing water bodies and hence improve the productivity of the water bodies. The MM-I will utilise all these possibilities of production expansion. The activities of the MM-I can be divided into four sub-components:
- Construction of individual ponds
- Construction of community ponds
- Reclamation of swampy lands, marshy lands and bheels
- Development of Fisheries on reservoirs and lakes
This chapter is devoted to elaborate the four activities of the Mini-Mission I. The chapter is organized in eight sections. Section II and Section III focus on the Individual and community ponds respectively. These two activities are oriented towards livelihood and poverty alleviation. While the component of community ponds also has the same impact as that of the individual ponds, it differs in terms of the scale as well as financial support extended by the State. Section IV is devoted for development of fisheries in swampy and marshy lands and bheels and Section V for development of fisheries in reservoirs and lakes. These two activities will expand fish production in the existing water area. In other words, expansion of production is achieved through productivity improvement. The total cost of each of these four components of the Mini - Mission in different years is discussed in Section VI. The total cost will be shared by the Government of Meghalaya in the form of assistance, the commercial banks in the form of loan and the community/individual contribution. The shares of these three stakeholders are also discussed in this section. The impact of the Mini Mission on increase in production from each of the four components is elaborated in Section VII. The summary and conclusions of the chapter are highlighted in Section VIII.