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NABARD and College of Fisheries spearhead BFF initiative in Nagaon

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HT Correspondent

NAGAON, Feb 29: With the objective of supporting capacity building & skill development of unemployed youth through training and demonstration, encouraging fish farmers to maximise their earnings through the adoption of small-scale Biofloc Fish Farming (BFF), and promoting high-yielding intensive fish farming in small-sized areas, NABARD has supported the establishment of two BFF units in Nagaon district. The project is implemented by the College of Fisheries (CoF), AAU, Raha. One unit is installed on the premises of CoF, Raha, and the second unit is installed at Gramsri Krishak Sangha (GKS), Garajan, Rupahihat. The implementation of the project is collectively supervised by DDM-NABARD, Rajendar Perna, and Kaustubh Bhagawati, assistant professor, CoF.

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Both these units are now operational and are undertaking stocking and cultivation of a variety of fish like singhi, magur, koi, amur carp, etc. These units are also available for demonstration, exposure, and learning purposes.

Under the project, special training was organised by NABARD and CoF for local educated youth and fish farmers, wherein the participants were guided regarding the selection of different species of fish, identification and management of diseases, economics of BFF, setting up enterprises, etc.

Biofloc is a protein-based organic matter considered as microbial protein for fish. It is an aggregate of algae, beneficial bacteria, protozoa, living and dead particulate matter that floats on water. It is a protein-rich food for fish formed as a conversion of unused feed and excreta into natural food in a culture system. The BFF technology is an environmentally friendly aquaculture technique based on in-situ microorganism production. It involves the utilisation of microbial processes within the tank/pond itself to provide food resources for cultured organisms.

The Biofloc culture tanks are generally circular in shape with a diameter of 4 meters that can hold around 10,000 liters of water. The tanks are generally made of tarpaulin plastic sheets of 450-650 GSM. The water depth in the tanks is maintained up to 1.0-1.5 meters. To withstand high water pressure, the tarpaulin sheets are tied to a circular iron mesh frame, and the bottom of the tank is cemented & lined with tarpaulin. To remove the sludge, an outlet pipe is fitted at the center of the tank.

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Recently, a team of R-TAG officers from NABARD consisting of S S Waghode and Aishwarya Priyadarshi, along with the DDM Rajendar Perna, visited both these BFF units and interacted with the dean, professors, associate professors of CoF, and the representatives of GKS, Garajan regarding the utility of the BFF units and their replicability. During the discussions, assistant professor Kaustubh Bhagawati briefed the NABARD officials that under the project, so far, CoF has trained around 165 fish farmers of Nagaon and Morigaon districts, and that around 145 school and college students have visited the BFF units on study visits. These units are becoming a profitable venture and are encouraging youths to take up this low-cost fish farming enterprise. He further informed that the BFF unit at CoF has been included under the revenue generation model of the Revolving Fund scheme of AAU so that this BFF system can be disseminated among a larger number of marginal fish farmers, in addition to generating substantial revenue for continuing the unit.

The visiting officers from NABARD appreciated the efforts of the College of Fisheries, Raha in successfully implementing the project and requested the dean Dr P C Bhuyan to continue popularising this sustainable model of aquafarming among the fish farmers of the state and uplift their socio-economic status. They also assured complete support of NABARD in this new endeavour, an official press note asserted here.

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