International Women’s Day: Two Kerala women to be honoured for successful ventures in fisheries sector

While Raji George from Ernakulam district scripted the success story in integrated farming, Smija, an engineering diploma holder who hails from Moothakunnam chose cage fish farming as her profession.

Published: 07th March 2021 01:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2021 01:36 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala women entrepreneurs

Smija MB (Left) and Raji George (Photos | Express)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Raji George and Smija M B have all the reasons to cheer this International Women’s Day. In a model for women empowerment, both of them showed their grit to become successful entrepreneurs in the fisheries sector. While Raji George from Angamali in Ernakulam district scripted the success story in integrated farming, Smija, an engineering diploma holder who hails from Moothakunnam, near Paravur in Ernakulam, chose cage fish farming as her profession.

In recognition of their achievements, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) will honour both the women entrepreneurs during the Women’s Day celebration to be held at the institute on Monday.

Raji started her entrepreneurial initiative by establishing a fish farm named ‘Anna Aqua Farm’ in a defunct quarry near Angamaly, after receiving training from the CMFRI and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra functioning under the institute.  Apart from fish farming, she also runs ‘Anna Agro Farm’, an agricultural farm focusing on organic vegetable cultivation. In addition, she undertakes fodder cultivation, an incubator for chicks and a poultry farm which includes chicks, ducks and quails.

In as many as eight cages in a deep quarry of 60-feet depth, she farms fishes like gift tilapia, catla, catfish, rohu, mrigal and dam gold. Raji cultivates almost all types of vegetables on her agricultural farm avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Important crops on the farm include tomato, bhindi, cowpea, brinjal, chilli, carrot, ginger, turmeric, cauliflower, cabbage and tapioca. Her poultry farm has over 250 chicks including local breeds and around 300 quails. Maintaining a sustainable integrated farming system in the homestead plot of 75 cents, Raji George also rears cows and goats. She also finds time to empower the housewives of the locality in poultry farming through experience sharing and disseminating technical information based on her experience. She strategically utilises social media platforms to find a market for her produce and she made home deliveries too.

Smija started her venture by establishing a cage fish farming unit in the Periyar with the technical guidance of the CMFRI. Gradually she expanded her farming into more cages by ensuring the participation of other women in her locality in the venture. Now, she is the leader of a self-help group named ‘Periyar Activity Group’. Her leadership skill helped her popularize the cage farming technology in her entire locality and she made a huge impact in the area with many women forming self-help groups and launching cage fish farming.

Her initiative helped many families in the locality to find a regular income through cage fish farming. Apart from her farming activities, she also focuses on providing training to a large number of women in her area inspiring them to become small-scale entrepreneurs in cage farming.

CMFRI Director Dr A Gopalakrishnan will honour Raji George and Smija MB at the Women’s Day celebration to be held by the Women Cell of the CMFRI. Actor Subi Suresh will be the chief guest at the function.


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