Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

Integrated fish-horticulture farming in India

by S.D.Tripathi and B.K. Sharma

Integration of fruit and vegetable farming on the fishpond embankment has been tested in India, and has several advantages:

Fish-crop farming material flow

Establishment of the system

Select ponds near to your house. This helps in easy management of the pond and in discouraging poachers.

Check and repair the dikes and guard the inlets and outlets with meshed screens to avoid escape of stocked fish and entry of unwanted fish. The pond should be deep enough so that it retains more than 1 m water during the dry period.

Strengthen the dikes and terrace them for planting crops and fruit plants.

Fish culture

Pond preparation

Remove aquatic weeds. Compost and use them later as manure for the pond. Remove all existing fish stock from the pond by repeated netting and draining the pond water. If it is not possible to drain the pond, kill the fishes by adding to the water 15 kg bleaching powder and 15 kg urea (for 1 000 m2 pond). Bleaching powder may be applied one day after urea application. Application of 250 kg Mahua oil cake (Basia latifolia) can also be done for the eradication of fish. Mix it thoroughly with the pond water and net all the fishes.

Manure the pond with the compost (made out of aquatic weeds). Apply 500 kg basally; the rest (500 kg) may be applied in two equal installments at 4 months interval but more frequent doses (e.g. fortnightly) are better.

Stock the pond with fingerlings 7 days after poisoning as the toxicity of bleaching powder lasts for about 1 week. The recommended rates (at stocking density of 600/ 1 000 m2) are:

Some alterations can be made on the stocking density and species ratio depending upon the pond conditions and availability of fish seed.


The fish that attain marketable size should be harvested and the rest allowed growing further. Final harvesting may be done 10-12 months after stocking.

Calendar of activities for
fish-horticulture farming


The dikes are strengthened, terraced, prepared and fertilized by application of pond silt.

Bananas, papayas, pumpkins, gourds, spinach, brinjals, tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy vegetables are grown on the dikes.

Inorganic fertilizer is also applied to the plants in addition to pond silt at 10 kg/year divided into installments.

Water the crops with manure pond water.

Planting of papaya is done in June/July and banana in October/November and harvesting starts after 6 and 8 months following planting, respectively. The farmer consumes a portion of the harvested fruits and the rest are sold in the market.

The vegetable crops are grown and harvested twice in a year--once during August/September and another in March/April. After meeting the requirements of the farm family, the vegetables are sold. Below is a list of some crops that can be grown on the pond embankment:

Budget (in rupee) for fish-horticulture in 0.1 ha pond

Fruit plants
Vegetable plants
Bottle gourd
and other leafy vegetables

Cash flow for integrated fish-horticulture farming for a 0.1 ha pond






















+1 075




+3 245














1. Cash inflow from November when harvesting of vegetable is initiated
2. Cash flow goes up to Rs1 075 in March, when partial harvesting of fish is also done
3. Cash inflow includes harvesting of second crop of vegetables from April to July

Issues for further consideration

In India, semi-intensive commercial systems are well established in certain areas. However, the adoption of similar technologies among resource-poor farmers is not well documented, and the system described here is a downscaled version of the semi-intensive commercial system. In practice, downscaling operational procedures and rates are difficult to implement as resource-poor farmers cannot access the materials in the required amounts, frequency and quality (e.g. lime, manure, weeds) or in the exact stocking ratios and sizes for polycultures, etc. In many situations, smallholder ponds are undrainable and cannot be dried, so pond mud removal is difficult and laborious, and pumping costs can be prohibitive.

Numerous other examples of vegetable-fish and fruit-fish integration from other countries, farming systems and agroecological zones exist in the scientific literature. The example presented here should encourage prospective users to consider, given their own resources and agroecological conditions, which vegetable crops are suitable and marketable. Further, they need to decide at which location on the pond dikes the crops should be planted, based on seasonality requirements for shade and water, etc. Usually the availability of land and labour on the farm, together with household and market needs, will determine if farmers could embark on these activities. Supporting institutions would have to assess the economic viability of the new aquaculture component and its synergistic benefits in comparison to other opportunities.

Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page