Imphal (Manipur) [India], Dec. 10 : The concept of fish farming has ushered a revolution in the landlocked state of Manipur. Soibam Surchandra, the owner of S. Tomba and Sons Penba Farm, the largest producer of Pengba fish has brought about a Blue Revolution in the state.
In 2002, he was awarded a gold medal for best fish farming at the national level by the Government of India.
Apart from supplying fish across the state, Surchandra also exports 'Pengba' and 'Ngatonto' to the neighbouring states of Nagaland, Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
Surchandra told ANI, "Right now, we have 34 fish ponds, which are segregated in different sections for nursery, breeding and so on.
Accordingly, we breed and rear fish employing best methods available. We are specialised in rearing of indigenous species like Pengba and Ngatonto, which we also export to neighbouring markets." Having acquired a diploma in fishery science from Mumbai, Surchandra came back to Manipur and took over his family's 11-hectare fish-farming business.
His farm was established at Hiyangthang Mamang Leikai in 1981 and he began rearing Pengba in the mid-1980s.
Due to his sheer hard work and utter determination, Surchandra's farm has only seen a sharp rise in fish production.
His farm has also provided employment opportunities to many youth in his village. Chalamba, a staffer, said, "I am working here for the last six years. And I am happy that it gives me an opportunity to earn and support my family." Keshorjit, another staffer, said, "Since I don't have any other job, I am working here for the last four years.
The work is difficult in the winters, but we have no problem during the summer." As of now, Surchandra's farm produces 40-45 metric tonnes of fish, earning an annual turnover of Rs.
40-45 lakhs. According to him, diseases are the only biggest threat to the fish farming business. Surchandra said, "We produce 40-45 tonnes of fish a year. The longer we rear fish, their size become bigger, which increases our income accordingly." Surchandra has successfully produced 35,000 kilograms of indigenous fish at his Pengba farm.
He also rears other varieties of fish in his farm, but he wants to rear species indigenous to the state, which are on the verge of extinction.
Surchandra procured the Pengba from the Loktak Lake in 1984-85 and began their breeding. "We started digging fish ponds between 1984 and 1985 and by 1992, we completed our work and started researching for fish (Pengba and Ngatonto) and started our fish farming.
We have attended various training on fish farming that eventually improved our knowledge. In 2002, I was awarded a gold medal for best fish farming award by the Government of India." Surchanda's effort has not only helped in the conservation of rare species of fish, but has also become a source of income for farmers and boosted trade in the state.