THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In-depth knowledge of traditional aqua farming and innovative farming approach is what keeps Koodatham Kandi Manoj, hailing from Atholi, Kozhikode district, one of the well-acclaimed aqua farmers in Kozhikode district. Manoj was arranging fish cages at the available water bodies near his house when the 'City Express' team visited him.
“I am not ready to stick on to conventional techniques alone,” says Manoj, who tries out novel techniques in pisciculture. His pearlspot farming in fibre cages is a big hit among the other farmers in Kozhikode. The low-cost fibre cages with PVC pipes to grow pearlspot were developed after realising the demand for fish delicacies among Malayalis. Since PVC pipes are very costly he has replaced them with empty plastic bottles.
In the coming months he is planning to start duck farming in the backwaters. “Once the renovation works at the farm are over, I will introduce new varieties of fish,” he says. According to him, unless the government shows interest in supporting farmers individually or on a family basis, the farm sector will not taste success. “A good number of farms which were set up here as joint ventures had to stopped halfway due to lack of coordination and foresightedness,” he says.
In his words, to push the success graph upward, farmers should develop a rapport with agricultural scientists and show the willingness to make changes as per their directives. “It was the scientists with Peruvannamuzhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) who guided me to success,” says Manoj, who has been practising pisciculture for the past 20 years. “Fish farming will never be a loss as it requires meagre investment," he says, while suggesting that it is one of the best vocations for women. He allows his customers to catch fish directly from his farm.
Manoj started off with tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) farming near his house with technical support from KVK. In the beginning stage, there were plenty of takers for it, but later it lost its sheen. Then he switched over to breeds such as pearlspot, red snapper and mullet. Earlier his farm was a fish-breeding demonstration site. “Though it is a time-consuming process, the experience it offers is awesome!” he smiles.
Awards and accolades are not new to this 48-year-old innovative farmer. He was chosen for the innovative farmer award 2012, instituted by the Indian Agriculture Research Institute based in New Delhi. The Indian Institute of Spices Research had felicitated him at its annual Karshika Sankethika Darshanam 2011, a farmers' fair and technology expo.