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Cost of production is more important than the rate of production and it is the cost benefit ratio which decides the viability of any production technology. Therefore, it is necessary that undrainable pond culture operations are subjected to economic analysis which would indicate the factors influencing farm profitability and the way in which these factors of production are to be regulated to maximise net return. Economic analysis of all the three types of undrainable pond culture - raising of fry from spawn, raising of fingerlings from fry and raising of table size fish from fingerlings - are considered below.

13.1 Raising of fry

The economics of fry rearing mainly depends on the size to which they are grown (25 mm to 35 mm), costs of inputs, nursery size, species reared and the demands for seed. Sinha and Ranadhir (1980) worked out the detailed economics of fry rearing on the basis of 1979 market price. However, the present analysis is based on the 1986 market price. A more generalised case of fry rearing operation in a 0.04 ha pond in the region of Orissa has been taken here as an example (Table 43). Although the prevailing cost of catla, grass carp and silver carp fry are more than double than that of rohu, mrigal and common carp, the present economic consideration is based on the latter group of carp species. Again the rate of stocking is also considered at a lower level of 3 million spawn/ha. Normally the crop is ready within 15 days, but disposing of fry itself takes about a week.

The net profit is approximately 4 100 US $/ha from each crop of about 3 weeks. Normally 3–4 such crops are raised from the same water area during the rearing season of the year. The fry of certain other carp species such as grass carp, silver carp and catla are in high demand and fetch 2 or 3 times higher price.

13.2 Raising of fingerlings

Fingerlings (100–150 mm) production involves rearing of fry for about 3 months in rearing ponds. Again, the economics of fingerling rearing naturally depends upon the size to which it is grown, its market price and the cost of material and labour inputs. There is great variation in the market price of the product itself which mainly depends on the size and species of the marketed fingerlings. Large (above 100 mm) and healthy fingerlings fetch almost double the price of smaller ones. Likewise, fingerlings of grass carp, silver carp and catla are sold at about double the price of fingerlings of the same size of species like rohu, mrigal and common carp. The economics of fingerling raising in an average rural, undrainable pond of 0.08 ha in Orissa State is presented here (Table 44).

Table 43
Production cost, output and net income from
0.04 ha nursery ponds (rohu, mrigal and common carp)
No.ItemQuantityCost (US $)
 1.Weed clearance 1.66
 2.Eradication of predatory and weed fishes, using mahua oil cake100 kg10.00
 3.Organic manure400 kg3.33
 4.Lime12 kg1.50
 5.Selective poisoning of larger copepods using malathion 400 ml 2.00
 6.Soap and oil treatment (720 g of soap and 2.25 1 of oil) 6.70
 7.Stocking material 0.12 million (spawn) at the rate of 3 million/ha 50.00
 8.Supplementary feed20 kg2.70
 9.Netting charges for nursery preparation and harvesting 8.33
 10.Labour for watch and ward, feeding, fertilization, etc., 20 man-days 20.00
 11.Pond rental 8.33
 12.Maintenance and miscellaneous 10.00
 13.Interest on working capital at the rate of 18% (for six months) 11.20
  Total input cost 135.75
 1.Fry (at an average survival level of 60%); (at the rate of 4.166 US $/1000 fry)72 000 fry300.00
C.NET PROFIT (B-A)164.25

The net profit from this 0.08 ha pond corresponds to an income of US $ 2 746.37/crop/ha in about 3 months. During the rearing season of the year it may be possible to raise two crops of fingerlings from the same water body. If the ponds are relatively small and suitable for rearing of spawn to fry stage, initially 3–4 crops of fry are raised and finally the ponds are usually utilized for fingerling production.

In relatively bigger ponds, after rearing 2 crops of fingerlings, they are utilized for culturing fish for about six months to an average weight of about 500 g.

Table 44
Production cost, output and net income from 0.08 ha rearing pond (rohu, mrigal and common carp)
No.ItemQuantityCost (US $)
1Weed clearance-3.32
2Eradication of predatory and weed fish using mahua oil cake200 kg20.00
3Organic manure(raw cow dung) 400 kg3.33
4Lime24 kg3.00
5Inorganic fertilizer:  
 Urea16 kg3.35
 Triple super phosphate6.4 kg1.00
6Fry at the rate of 0.25 million/ha20 00083.32
7Supplementary feed225 kg30.37
8Netting charges for periodical netting and harvesting 13.33
9Labour charges for watch and ward, feeding, fertilization, etc.90 man-days90.00
10Pond rental 16.66
11Maintenance and miscellaneous 20.00
12Interest on working capital at the rate of 18% (for six months) 25.89
 Total input cost 313.57
1Fingerlings (at an average survival level of 80%)16 000 (at the rate of 33.33 US $/1000 fingerlings533.28
C. NET PROFIT (B-A) 219.71

13.3 Raising of table-size fish

The technology of composite fish culture in undrainable ponds has been successfully demonstrated in different agroclimatic regions of the Indian sub-continent at different use of input levels. Based on data collected from these sources detailed economic evaluations have been made (Sinha, 1978; Sinha and Ramachandram 1985; Ranadhir, 1984). The cost analysis presented here is also based on actual case studies. However, the costs are updated (1986 price) and expressed in U.S. dollars to have better comparability among three different levels of productions using different levels of inputs. Fish production rates ranging from over 2 700 kg/ha/yr to over 10 000 kg/ha/yr, have been achieved depending on intensity of input use. Three case studies have been selected to represent high (about 8 000–10 000 kg/ha/yr), medium or intermediate (4 000–6 000 kg/ha/yr) and low level (less than 4 000 kg/ha/yr) of production packages. All these three cases have been taken from Jaunpur Centre of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Composite Fish Culture. Table 45 gives the details of material inputs used in actual quantities, while Table 46 gives a summary of costs/benefits of fish culture in undrainable ponds. The major difference in terms of input cost is mainly due to feed component, which is maximum in high production level while in the low production level it has not been used at all. This shows that the technology of fish culture in undrainable ponds offers flexibility to suit fish farmers of varied socio-economic background.

Feed costs constitute 50–60% of the total cost of production of medium and high input technology of composite fish culture. Many small-scale fish farmers do not use much fertilizers, and use very little or no supplementary feed (Ranadhir, 1986).

Table 45
Per hectare inputs/outputs in case studies of three different levels of fish production
No.InputProduction levels
1Mahua oil cake1 071 kg-1 200 kg
2Organic manure (cowdung)9 057 kg10 068 kg7 500 kg
3Lime1 786 kg750 kg300 kg
 Ammonium sulphate-540 kg396 kg
 Muriate of potash46 kg45 kg50 kg
 Urea--30 kg
 Mustard oil cake8 079 kg6 072 kg-
 Rice bran5 800 kg2 712 kg-
6Stocking material5 000 nos.5 000 nos.5 000 nos
7Weeds180 t75 t100–150 t
 Gross production of fish:6 980 kg4 794 kg2 746 kg

Table 46
Per hectare costs and benefits of table size fish production
at high, intermediate and low production levels


ItemCosts (U.S. $)*
High level
level of
Low level of
1Pond rental (estimated)208.25208.25208.25
2Wages (470 man-days, estimated)470.00470.00470.00
3Maintenance and repairs (estimated)250.00250.00250.00
4Mahua oil cake (for eradicating predatory and weed fishes)107.10-120.00
5Organic manure (cowdung)75.4783.9062.50
 Ammonium sulphate-51.7537.95
 Single super phosphat50.3227.5022.00
 Muriate of potash3.833.754.16
 Mustard oil cake1 683.121 265.00 
 Rice bran362.50169.50-
 Sub-total:3 642.152 873.381 468.62
11Miscellaneous costs at the rate of 5% of recurrent costs (Items1–10)182.10143.6673.43
12Interest on working capital at the rate of 18% for 6 months344.18271.53138.78
 Total cost4 168.433 288.571 680.83
 1. Cost of fish at the rate of US$ 1.50/kg10 470.007 191.004 119.00
C. NET INCOME (B-A)6 301.573 902.432 438.17

* US $ = 15.00 Indian rupees

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