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2. Evolution of Rural Aquaculture

2.1. Historical Aspect
2.2 Current Status
2.3 Impact on Socio-economy

2.1. Historical Aspect

Kautilya’s Arthasastra - one of the oldest Indian epics indicates that fish culture activity in India dates back to 2000 years. Perhaps it started when the human settlement moved away from the riverbanks to the hinterland. Paddy fields and low lying areas in flood plains and those connected to the estuaries and estuarine creeks became the cradle of aquaculture where inundation, caused either by monsoon rain or by tidal water, brought the natural seed of finfish and shellfish which got automatically trapped after the water receded. That eventually gave rise to the operation of “trapping and holding” of fish seed and raising them to table size and thus this marked the beginning of aquaculture in India.

Construction of the ponds either for storing the rain water for dry land agricultural activities or for the earth work for construction of the hut, house, and brick kiln, contributed to the development of aquaculture. Ponds became the nuclei of watering activities including supply of drinking water for human and livestock.

Geographic phenomenon of shifting of river courses resulted in rows of ponds. In fact, the dead river channels were sub-divided into smaller units by putting embankment across, giving rise to a series of ponds, the ownership of which was virtually acquired by the person staying in front of the section of the river channel. Such a series of ponds commonly exists in many parts of West Bengal and Assam.

Ponds (some part of India it is called tanks) are an essential component or rural setting. Similarly, any religious place, whether it is Hindu temple or Muslim mosque or Sikh gurudwara invariably has ponds or tanks and fish. The value of such ponds and of the fish as purifying agent of water was well known to Indians since time immemorial. Thus ponds became an integral part of Indian tradition, culture and religion.

Although aquaculture has been in vogue, its important role in rural development has been rediscovered recently. Soon after the independence in 1947 from the British Empire, India pursued the policy of increasing food production and community development. It embarked on programs such as “Grow More Food” and made considerable investment in irrigation infrastructure and institutions building.

Agriculture universities and research institutions on agricultural commodities and resources, were setup in different parts of India. Agricultural scientists and farmers made great stride in increasing agricultural productivity and thus the country never suffered from any famine after forties and has been able to successfully feed its teeming millions.

Fisheries research institutes were set up for inland resources Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI) and for marine resources Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). Research efforts of these institutes formed the basis of modern aquaculture. The earlier work carried out at the CIFRI consisted of mainly induced breeding of Indian and Chinese carps, their seed production and pond culture operations, etc. The institute along with the Marine Fisheries Research Institute also contributed in providing the foundation of shrimp seed production and culture.

The perfection of the technique of hypophysation of Indian and Chinese carps and studies on a high yielding combination of Asiatic carps, commonly known as Composite Fish Culture, at CIFRI were of great significance in advancing rural aquaculture in the country. Initiation and remarkable success of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Composite Fish Culture and Fish Seed Production in 1971 had been the turning point in the annals of freshwater fish culture in India (Jhingran 1975). The successful results of which not only instilled the confidence in the State and Central governments but in the farmers also (Sinha 1971). A number of development programs followed; the most notable are the creation of the Fish Farmers Development Agencies, and the World Bank Fish Seed Hatchery Project. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) gave great emphasis on aquaculture research and training and established Fresh water Aquaculture Research and Training Center (FARTC) in 1977 under CIFRI at Kauslyaganga, Bhubaneswar, which also housed the Pond Culture Division. The Trainers Training Center (TTC) and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) were also established there at the same time.

The FARTC made great strides for a decade to establish laboratories and farm facilities for aquacultural and made notable advancement in aquaculture sciences. It adopted multidisciplinary approach for upgradation of freshwater aquaculture technology. The TTC and KVK became deeply involved in transfer of technology to the farmers and extension officers.

The FAO/UNDP supported the ICAR efforts of intensification of fish culture research and training. As a result of which two projects, one on aquaculture research and training and another on the Net Work of Aquaculture Centers in Asia, were started at the FARTC. Both the projects were highly successful. Through these projects the center established very strong scientific capabilities and research infrastructure. It played a crucial role in developing strong bondage between scientists and farmers and also provided scientific leadership in carp culture in Asia.

Considering the emerging opportunities and constraints of aquaculture sector, and future R&D requirements, the ICAR made FARTC a full-fledged institute known as Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA) in 1986. FAO/UNDP further supported the institute to establish a Center of Advanced Studies on Freshwater Aquaculture in collaboration with Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology.

The CIFA continued the efforts of aquaculture R&D vigorously and consolidated the gains of research into packaging of many technologies and it is considered as one of the premier institutions of fresh water aquaculture research in the world.

The ICAR initiated an All India Coordinated Research Project on Brackishwater Fish Culture in early seventies under CIFRI. The investigations paved the way initially for the development of brackishwater aquaculture in India. The other Fisheries Research Institutes like Marine Fisheries Research Institute and Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE) contributed considerably to further development of aquaculture. Marine Product Export Development Authorities of India played a commendable role in the development of shrimp farming in the country. The Government of India gave all out support for the development of shrimp farming. While the ICAR established the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture, the Central and the State governments established the Brackishwater Fish Farmers Development Agency.

2.2 Current Status

Availability and ownership of the ponds are prerequisite for undertaking fish farming. Many benchmark surveys undertaken during late seventies and early eighties showed the following general pattern of pond ownership and resources of the owner in the freshwater sector (Table 3).

Table 3. General categories of ponds and ownership


Categories of ponds

Size of pond

Ownership and resources


Very small homestead pond


Rural poor with no resources


Small homestead pond


Rural poor with meager resources


Medium size pond


Rural poor with adequate resources


Large size pond


Rich farmer with enough resources


Community pond

Small-5 or more

Vested with religious place without resources


Community pond

Small-5 or more

Vested with religious place with resources


Community pond

Small-5 or more

Vested with Local Self Government


Farm pond/Fish farm

Small-varying size

Farmers with adequate resources

Unlike the freshwater ponds, the brackishwater ponds do not abound much. The traditional aquaculture is still prevalent in paddy fields. Some of the state governments have under different programs of poverty alleviation constructed smaller ponds of about an acre and distributed to landless rural poor for shrimp farming. However because of low input resources they did not do well and at times privately lend them to well to do farmers or entrepreneurs. But during last decade a number of well designed fish farms have come up in many of the maritime states, mostly owned by persons or corporate with adequate resources.

In general, farmers with ponds and with resources were the first to be benefited by scientific technology. However, efforts have been made by different government agencies, ICAR institutes, NGOs to organize the landless, unemployed youth and women in forming cooperative for fish seed production, seed rearing, fish culture, fish marketing with varying degree of success.

The present trend shows that small size homestead ponds belonging to rural poor with some resources, and medium and large size ponds and newly established farms have contributed to the increased production. However, many large size ponds belonging to well to do farmers or rich people are invariably under multiple ownership. Such ponds unlike the land, can not be fragmented into smallholdings, are mostly lying fallow. It is felt that even newly excavated ponds whether small or large would soon come under the multiple ownership because of the advent of the new generation. Multiple ownership has its own problem of development.

The situation in coastal area is more or less the same but unfortunately not many ponds are available in the sector. But many farms have recently been established. However they do not normally belongs to poor farmers. The poor farmers are still involved in the paddy shrimp farming.

A major national program of Fish Farmers Development Agencies at the district level was initiated in 1973 to provide administrative and infrastructural support, training to beneficiary, mobilization of inputs and extension support to fish farmers and also for arranging institutional finance though bank credits. The FFDA was entrusted to bring all the fallow culture fishery resources under optimum fish production progressively. The agency played leading role in extension of fish culture technology and also created well-organized skilled and enterprising fish farmers communities. The agency selects suitable water area, arranges lease on long-term basis provides incentive for renovation of ponds and input in the first year of fish culture.

Thus, while the FFDAs concentrated on utilizing more of the fallow and unutilized pond resources needing developmental support, the traditional fish farmers culturing carps in ponds upgraded the technology of both seed and fish production and improved aquaculture productivity.

In India shrimp farming has made considerable progress both in rural aquaculture as well as in industrial. Besides the traditional method of trapping and holding of shrimp seed for culture in paddy fields in West Bengal and Kerala, extensive, semi intensive and intensive systems of prawn farming are becoming prevalent in different part of the country. Till 1994-95, 100,700 ha of water bodies were used for shrimp production at 8% utilization of the total potential resources of about 1.2 million ha brackishwater. More than half, about 52,500 ha, is under traditional culture and the rest under extensive or semi-intensive.

Tables 4 and 5 show the state-wise details of shrimp farming. As with the freshwater sector, the government of India has sanctioned 39 Brackishwater Fish Farmers Development Agencies in all maritime states and Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The BFDAs have developed 17,780 ha of brackishwater area and imparted training to about 15,000 shrimp farmers.

2.3 Impact on Socio-economy

National level

Since rural aquaculture covers both fresh and brackish waters, it is important to analyze the impact from both the sectors.

Excepting egg, poultry and potatoes, aquaculture was by far the fastest growing food production sector over the recent past decades. Freshwater aquaculture which is based mainly of carp, contributed over 1.52 million tons of fish and 15000 million fry annually, contributing well over Rs. 40,000 million.

Similarly, 83,000 tons of cultured shrimps contributed to about 40-45%, in terms of quantity and about 60-65% in terms of value in the total export of shrimps, which amounts to about Rs. 16,000 million.

Village Level

Case Studies


While the FARTC was being established, the KVK/TTC, Kausalyaganga under its training and transfer of technology programs initiated organizing farmers and farm women to undertake fish farming and seed production after getting them trained in Composite Fish Culture, fish seed production, net making and horticultural crop production at Nakhaurpatana village of Bhubaneswar block in Puri district, in 1979 (Sinha and Venkateswarlu 1983).

Before starting the program, a benchmark survey was undertaken of the socioeconomic conditions of the farmers and inventory of the village resources were made. It was seen that the village has a total of 44 families. Fifty percent of the families were landless and about 48% were marginal farmers owning very smallholdings (0.001-0.5 ha). The literacy rate for male was about 25%, where as for female about 8.6%. About 89% of the families lived below poverty line with an average income of Rs. 185/month. Employment profile showed that majority worked as labourers, others were involved in fishing from rivers or derelict water, poultry farming, dairy and share cropping, However, most of them were gainfully employed only for about 7 months in a year.

The village had two large derelict ponds of 0.75 and 1.25 ha belonging to the Gram Panchayat (Local self-government). In addition to these, two small ponds of 0.06 and 0.02 ha also existed there in the village but all of them were fallow and were not used for fish farming. Though they were mainly used for water supply to the village and agricultural field but they were full of aquatic weeds primarily water hyacinth.

Over twelve years of concerted technical support along with a great degree of committed involvement of the staff of KVK/TTC, the situation in the village changed considerably.

Composite Fish Culture

The technology of composite fish culture was propagated in the village in 1979. In the very first year a pond of 0.75 ha choked with weeds was cleared by the villagers and composite fish culture was undertaken, which gave a production of about 2.5 ton. @ 4451 kg/ha/yr and the fish was sold @ Rs. 10/kg. The farmers received a sum of Rs. 25,266 with a net profit of Rs. 22,990. This instilled a great confidence in the villagers and thus they extended the technology to two other ponds of 1.25 ha and of 0.08. Over 12 years the fish production ranged between 1717 kg/ha/yr to 4491 kg/ha/yr, though fish production suffered because of the severe flood for one year and outbreak of fish disease in another year. Also farmers could not get the lease from Gram Panchayat for one year and ponds remained unused. The overall average fish production was 2855kg/ha/yr. In 12 years the farmers earned a net profit of over Rs 565,991 from fish. The average percentage return on expenditure on composite fish culture was estimated to be 710% and profit percentage to turn over was about 81%. The cost return ratio ranged between 0.07 and 0.46. In fact, after introduction of composite fish culture technology in the village, the poverty condition was down to 45.45% in 1990 from 89% in 1979 Radheyshyam and Tripathy (1992).

· Fish Seed Production

Soon after getting trained in fish seed production, the farmers and farm women undertook seed production using brood stock available in composite fish culture ponds. They were able to produce spawn as well as raised fry and fingerlings. The farmers then made use of all the fallow ditches and borrow pits by converting them to nursery ponds. Both men and women have been now actively involved in carp seed rearing. From 1980 to 1985, 1108 million of spawn of Indian major carp and common carp were produced and sold, resulting in a net profit of Rs. 12867 with an expenditure of Rs. 2165 only, showing a 594% return on expenditure

Similarly, spawn rearing from 1979 to 1985 resulted in a net profit of over Rs. 12,778, showing a 278% return on expenditure.

· Net Fabrication

Twenty-four women from the village were trained in fish net fabrication technology in 1980 and were organized under a cooperative society. Radheyshyam et. al (1988) noted that on making 45 kg of net of 67m x 9m the estimated profit of the society was Rs. 7203.

· Horticultural Crop Production

The farmers were shown to use pond silt and composted aquatic weeds as manure and they were given training in integrated farming. They integrated horticulture and fish culture on the 0.20 ha pond. The embankment was used for production of banana, papaya and a number of a variety of seasonal vegetables. As a result of which farmers earned a net return of Rs. 27,365 in total from 1981-90. The cost-return ratio ranged between 0.11 and 0.41 and the average percentage return on expenditure was 415%. During 1988-90 farmer also took up mushroom cultivation, which gave them a profit of Rs. 8,427 with the percentage return on investment as 288%.

In general, the village appears progressive with about 31% male and about 28% of female involved in aquacultural activities, without impairing their previous occupation if any, for generating additional family income. All the 44 families were benefited with additional income, and a small amount was also spent on community development such as road repair and construction of the pond, etc. As a result of this now the village has 12 ponds, covering an area of 2.28 ha and are used for fish culture with an average production rater of 2855 kg/ha/yr.


In 1986 the KVK and TTC carried out a preliminary survey of village Sarakana of Balianta block in Khurda district in Orissa with a view to developing aquacultural activities. There are 4 Gram Panchayat tanks totaling 3.4 ha and 28 private ponds covering an area over 4h a. The Gram Panchayat ponds are leased out to farmers for fish culture.

Initially, the KVK and TTC under its off campus training program motivated and trained 10 farmers in composite fish culture. On completion of the training program the farmers initiated composite fish culture in 1.5 ha pond taken on lease from the Gram Panchayat. The pond was fallow and weed choked. However, weed was cleared and the pond was properly managed after fingerling stocking. This resulted in 1200 kg fish and the fish was sold @ Rs. 22/kg. In fact, in 10 years the total harvest was 14,750 kg till 1996. The income from composite fish culture instilled confidence in them and they diversified their aquaculture activities such as carp spawn production, carp fingerling raising and integrated farming.

Spawn production was initiated in 1987 with great success and resulted with increasing production from 3.5 lakh to 1575 million in 1996 with the annual net income rising to the tune of Rs. 50,000.

Further, the farmers were trained in fry and fingerling raising. They prepared a small nursery pond of 0.08 ha, which was stocked with spawn and reared for twenty days as a result of which 22 million fry were produced.

The same pond was again used for fingerling rearing and 40,000 fingerlings were harvested and a net income of Rs 7,978 was made in seven month. This inspired the farmers further to intensify the activities. They have now 10 ponds of 0.02-0.1 ha. each for fry and fingerling production. Within 10 years they produced a total of 123.85 and 16 lakh of fry and fingerling, which fetched a net income of about Rs. 495,000. The village has now become famous for quality seed supply (Radheyshyam 1997)

Family Level

About 21 case studies made during 1983 provided detailed information on the farm situation, household details, primary purpose of farming, farm inventory along with farm improvement if any, land use, labor use, cost and return, support services like credit, marketing, technical service, rural organization, constraints, and reason for success and failure along, with possible new approaches to improve the production. The salient points of which show how fish farming is contributing to the farm produce diversification, additional income and employment generation and thus bringing general prosperity to the farmers (Sinha and Venkateshwarlu 1983). The abstract of only six case studies are presented below, but observations given at the end were based on all the twenty one.

Case study No. 1 - Farmer undertaking most traditional system of Paddy-fish culture

1. Farm situation and details

Mirakhan, Kakdwip (West Bengal)
Size - 0.24 ha, water supply from river and also from tube well

2. Household information

Family members (6), family labor (2 male, 1 female), off-farm work - service,

3. Primary purpose

Produce food for family and some additional income

4. Farm inventory

Own land and 1 hut

5. Farm improvement


6. Land use

Paddy SR 26 B cultivation along with fish and fish, cultivation alone after paddy harvesting from Jan-June
Traditional method of culture of P. monodon, Mullet, carp and other fishes

7. Labor use

Labor distribution (Family) (Hired)

Paddy (43 man-days/yr)
Fish (120 man-days/yr)
100 M + 20 F
30 M + 13 F

8. Earning
Net earning

Paddy Rs. 226/-
Fish Rs. 800/-

Case Study No.2 - (Small Farmer undertaking most traditional paddy-fish culture)

1. Farm situation and details

Mirakhan, Kakdwip, (West Bengal)
Farm size (0.2), water supply through tube well and also through tide

2. Household information

Family member (3), family labor (nil), off-farm work (office)

3. Primary purpose

Produce food for family and also generate income

4. Farm inventory

Own land, and hut (1)

5. Farm improvement


6. Land use

Cultivation of SR 26 B paddy and Paddy cum Fish culture.
July-December - Paddy-fish culture and Jan-June - fish culture

7. Labor use
Labor inputs in man-days
Labor distribution, family member
Hired labour

Paddy (16), Fish culture (80)
Paddy (nil), Fish (nil)
Paddy (10 M+6F), Fish (60M+20F)

8. Earning

Value of production

Paddy and bran (Rs. 200/-)
Fish (Rs. 850/-)

Net earning

Paddy (Rs. 137/-)
Fish (Rs. 560/-)

Case Study No. 3 - Small farmer with improved traditional paddy-fish culture

1. Farm situation and detail

Govindpur (Ganeshpur), Kakdwip, West Bengal
Farm size (0.6 ha.), water supply from the tideand the impoundment.

2. Household information

Family member (8), Family labor (2), off-farm (service)

3. Primary purpose

To produce food for the family and also for income

4. Farm inventory

One mud house, bullock (2), country plough (1) duster (1), sprayer (1)

5. Farm improvement


6. Land use

July-Dec.- Paddy and fish
Jan-June - Fish alone and vegetable
P. monodon, L. parsia, carp and other fishes cultured in the brackish water impoundment.

7. Labor inputs in man-days

Paddy and vegetable (60)
Fish (150)

Labor distribution, family labor

Paddy and vegetable (50 M)
Fish (80 M)

Hired labor

Paddy and vegetable (10 M)
Fish (70 M)

8. Earnings

Value of the produce

Paddy (1700 kg) - Rs. 1,700/-
Vegetable (200 kg) - Rs. 200/-
Fish and prawn (500kg) - Rs. 5,500/-

Net earning

Paddy and vegetable - Rs. 1,200/-
Fish and prawn - Rs. 4,350/-

Case Study No. 4 - (Farmer with adequate resources)

1. Farm location and detail

Village Mathaur, Manigachi, Darbhanga (Bihar)
Ponds (5) of 2.15 ha.
Land 8 ha.
Water supply by rain and stored water in the pond. Tube well water for drinking

2. Household information

Family member (7), Family labor (2), mostly involved in management, off-farm (teacher 1)

3. Primary purpose of farming

Produce food, income, and some recreation

4. Farm inventory

Cemented house (1), Bullock (2),
Cow (2), Calves (2), Diesel pump
(1 of 5HP), Sprayer (1), Plough (2)

5. Farm improvement

Contour the land to catch run off for the pond

6. Land use

Fish (catla, rohu, mrigal and common carp) throughout the year
Makhana (Euryale ferox) Oct.-Aug.
Pulses and wheat (Sonalika, RR21)
Paddy (Padma, Jaya, IR8)
Fruit trees: Banana (50), Mango (7)
Lichi (3), Jack fruit (1)

7. Labor use in man days

Fish 75 + contract labor on 10% share basis for harvesting
Wheat (2ha) 120, pulses (1ha) 40,
Rice (8 ha in kharif +2 ha in summer) 880
Livestock 375
Horticulture 75

8. Cost and return

Value of the produce

Wheat (4 t.), Value Rs. 8,000/-
Paddy (16.5t.), Value Rs. 26,000/-
Pulses (0.5 t.), Value Rs. 2,000/-
Fish (3.3 t.), Value Rs. 33,000/-
Makhana (0.4t.), Value Rs. 4,000/-
Fruit Value Rs. 15,000/-
Milk (1200 ltr), Value Rs. 15,000/-

Net income

Wheat Rs. 3,610/-
Paddy Rs. 11,880/-
Pulses Rs. 638/-
Fish Rs. 6,290/-
Makhana Rs. 500/-
Fruit Rs. 1,690/-
Livestock Rs. 3,190/-

Case Study No. 5 - Farmer with adequate resources

1. Farm situation and details

Digaru, Sonapur, Kamrup, (Assam)
Farm size (3.07 ha. land, ponds (3) of total area of 0.8), water supply through tube well and also from pond

2. Household information

Family member (11M + 11F), family labor (8), off-farm(nil)

3. Primary purpose

Produce food for family and also generate income

4. Farm inventory

Own land, house (1), Jersi cow (6), calve (6), Bullock (4) Duck (20), Power tiller (1), Pumping set (1)

5. Farm improvement


6. Land use

Cultivation of paddy (1.2 ha), two crops
Composite Fish culture (0.8 ha)
Horticulture and forestry (1.87)
Livestock throughout the year

7. Labor use

Labor inputs in man-days

Paddy (200), Fish culture (700), Horticulture (1,500), Forestry (100), Livestock (300)

Labor distribution, family member

Paddy (120 M+30 F),
Fish (400 M),
Horticulture (600M+550F),
Forestry (70 M),
Livestock (100M+200F)

Hired labor

Paddy - 50,
Fish - 300,
Horticulture - 350,
Forestry - 20,
Livestock - nil

8. Cost and return

Value of production

Paddy and bran (Rs. 15,000/-)
Fish (Rs. 40,000/-)
Horticulture (Rs. 50,000/-)
Forestry (Rs. 5,000/-)
Livestock (Rs. 18,000/-)

Variable + Overhead costs (Rs. )

Paddy (4,300/-) + (300)
Fish (6,800/-) + (200)
Horticulture (22,000) + (400)
Forestry (1,000) + (100)
Livestock (3,800) + nil

Net earning (Rs. )

Paddy (10,400/-)
Fish (33,000/-)
Horticulture (27,600/-)
Forestry (3,900)
Livestock (14,200)

Case Study No. 6 (Dairy farmer undertaking fish culture)

1. Farm situation and details

Jangal Mahua, Gorakh pur (U.P.)
Farm size: Pond (2) area 0.7,
Cattle yard (1) 0.2 ha and 0.6 ha for fodder production.
Water supply from rain fed pond and tube well

2. Household information

Family member (19), family labor (6), off-farm work (1),

3. Primary purpose

Produce food for family and also generate income

4. Farm inventory

Own land, house (1), cow (4), buffalo (3), bullock (2), chaff cutter (1), plough (3),

5. Farm improvement

Previously the plot of the land was utilized for wheat cultivation but now dug the pond for fish culture

6. Land use

Dairing and fish seed production and culture
Cow (Sahival and Jersi), Buffalow (Murra), Bullock (Haryanavi). Carp culture and Common carp seed production

7. Labor use

Labor inputs in man - days

Livestock (425), Fish culture (245)

Labor distribution, family member

Livestock (200M+100F), Fish (100M+20 F)

Hired labor

Livestock (30 M+95F), Fish (120M+5F)

8. Cost and return

Value of production

Dairy (Milk -15,600 ltr Rs. 55,200/-)
Fish - 800 kg (Rs. 12,000/-)
Fish seed (Rs. 3,700/-)

Variable costs

Dairy (Rs. 10,450/-)
Fisheries (Rs. 3,940/-)

Overhead cost

Dairy (Rs. 1,200/-)
Fisheries (Rs. 1,000/-)

Net earning

Dairy (Rs. 43,550/-)
Fish (Rs. 10,760/-)

Case studies 1&2 clearly indicate that poor farmers still need considerable amount of extension support to upgrade the traditional systems of rice-fish culture to improve productivity. However, even with this low level of production the farmers get benefited by fish more than rice obviously because the price of fish is many times more than rice. But there is a strong need of improvement not only in package of practices but also in labor productivity, since the labor component has been exceptionally very high in these two cases. The situation improves in case study 3 when farmer undertakes improved traditional method of paddy-fish culture. It is interesting to note that the farmers hired labor, which give them some social prestige. Other case studies undertaken also show that traditional paddy-fish farming leads to higher labor engagement and better net income. The income from fish was as high as in the range of about 80% (primarily due to high price of prawn) and so is the engagement of labor time, which also ranges to about 80%.

Fish cultivation in the irrigation pond increases income of farmers besides producing some surplus fish protein for his family. Case study 4 showed that fish culture in about 25% of farm area gave about 50% of net farm income. In fact other case studies not shown above clearly indicated that fish culture in about 30-80% of farm areas, gave 80-90% of total farm income.

Case study 5 showed that a progressive farmer in Assam undertaking carp culture in about 25% of the farm area got more than 40% of the farm income. Compared to this, 55% of farm area under horticultural crop contributed to only about 27% of the farm income showing clearly the superiority of fish culture in generating farm income. However, horticultural crop integrates well with fish culture since the former calls for uninterrupted irrigation and yields sizable amount of soft-texture waste, which the fish utilizes as feed.

Case study 6 shows that a dairy farmer abandoned wheat cultivation in preference to fish culture in his land and without having much of experience of culture and seed production, he made a net income of Rs. 10,760/- in 0.7 ha pond area in one year.

Rural aquaculture with the rate of fish production of 1500 kg to 3000 kg/ha depending on the degree of culture practices adopted involving more than 200-300 man-days of labor/ha, and generating high net cash income to the farmers, is obviously making substantial contribution to rural socio-economic life.

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