ornamental fishes in cemented fish tanks
Thank you very much for your continuing support to the rural women of our region. With this letter, I would like to share with you a story of the ornamental fishery that women in Kaya village are doing.
However, before the story, we want you to know something about our monsoon. You will be very happy to note that the monsoon has turned out very good in Rajasthan this year. It has rained almost every day this monsoon which is unusual to our region. Usually we receive 20 rainy days in the monsoon. One of the most popular lakes in Udaipur city – Fatehsagar has filled up fully with lots of rain water and is currently over flowing. In villages too some of the streams are flowing and everyone is very happy. Hopefully we will have a good harvest of crops this year. The maize is the major crop and is currently growing in all the fields.
The women in Kaya wanted to help their families by supplementing extra income. The self help group (SHG) thought of starting a small business and therefore they started rearing ornamental fishes. The ornamental fished are in high demand in Udaipur. About Rs. 8 lakh (USD 16,667) worth fishes are sold in Udaipur every year. The Department of Fisheries of Mohanlal Sukhadia University in Udaipur was willing to provide the necessary support under their “Mega Seed Project”, supported by Indian Council for Agriculture Research.
Of the 6 SHGs, thirteen women decided to take up the project in 2006. They participated in a ten day training organized by the Department of Fisheries to learn about fish rearing, construction and maintenance of fish tanks, netting, etc. On completion of the training each of them were given 200 fish seeds. A buy-back arrangement had been agreed upon with the department who in turn sell them to dealers in Udaipur. Young boys from the village, who are children of the SHG members, have also been trained on aquarium fabrication, management and handling of ornamental fishes, and they provide the necessary support to women in rearing and in selling fish directly in the open market.
In the beginning women would dig up a pit in the ground in their field and would rear the fishes but eventually they realized that a kaccha pit (un-cemented) in the ground was a big challenge to manage. It also had a negative impact on the desired results because the seepage was high and the plastic sheet in the bottom of these pits got torn by the stones below and the rats & crabs ate up the sheets. These un-cemented tanks also got silted very soon and some tanks even collapsed. At regular intervals, the tanks need to be refilled with water. As you know water is scarce in the drought prone areas. As a result, the poor middle-aged women had to invest a lot of resources to keep their fishes alive.
It is then, when women decided to put up the cemented tanks. With help of funds raised from donors like you and Charities Aid Foundation India (CAF) the cemented tanks were built. Women also contributed 20% of the total cost (USD 521 for one tank) towards the construction of the tanks.
Today thirteen women are rearing red, brown, gappi, silver and black molly fishlings in their tanks. According to an estimate last year women are able to earn between Rs. 500-1200 (USD 10-25) per member. Earlier, women were selling their fishes for Rs. 4 to 8/- but recently when I visited their village the women told me that they are selling the fished for more prices – like the golden orange fish is sold for Rs. 15 each. They are increasing their market base day-by-day and are quite happy with the progress they have made so far. Currently they are in communication with the Fishery Department to explore whether a shade over their tanks is useful and would help them yield better results.
This has all been possible because of the support received from people like yourself. We will keep you posted on these women’s progress. Your donations are significant at this stage when their investments are shaping up.
It would be very encouraging if you could provide us with your comments on our feedback reports that we post on Global Giving in addition to your continuing support. It would help us improve in our communication with you. Thank you once again.
We will keep you posted on our progress.
With warm regards,