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The voices of coastal and tribal women were heard in the form their success stories of aquaculture based livelihood development at a workshop on “Listening to the voices of coastal and tribal women and their success stories and awareness on livelihood opportunities including rural and aqua Tourism” on 23rd June 2023 organized by the ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIBA) jointly with the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. About 150 number of coastal and tribal women engaged in aquaculture based livelihoods from Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore and Chengalpattu districts of Tamil Nadu and officials from development departments, financial institutions and NGOs participated in the workshop.

Thiru.S. Annadurai, CLS, Director, Tribal Welfare Department, Govt. of Tamil Nadu was the Chief Guest for the inaugural session. In his presidential address he highlighted that coastal fisher and tribal women folk have special skill sets with reference to fish production, marketing and value addition and they should utilize the technological support provided by ICAR-CIBA for their socio-economic development. He informed that his department will soon sign a MoU with ICAR-CIBA for taking up aquaculture based livelihood development activities for tribal folk in the coastal districts. The Government of Tamil nadu is implementing many schemes for the tribal welfare like integrated tribal development programme and Yekaliva model schools for the tribal children run by the government he added. He narrated the success story of leasing-in of cashew orchards by the Irula tribal groups in Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu with the facilitation of tribal welfare and forest departments. He also released the handbook on success stories of coastal and tribal women during the occasion.

Dr. Kuldeep Kumar Lal, Director, ICAR-CIBA in his inaugural speech articulated that ICAR-CIBA being a research institution developing the skill sets of the coastal women and tribal folk through its technology assessment and front-line demonstration programmes under the Scheduled Tribal Component.

ICAR-CIBA is taking efforts to link these women and tribal groups with the development departments of the states for taking up of aquaculture based livelihoods through their schemes he emphasized. Asian Seabass nursery and farming, Mud crab fattening and integrated farming of seaweed and finfishes are the technologies identified for that he informed. Dr.B.Santhi, Principal Scientist, coordinator of the workshop welcomed the participants and explained the objectives of the workshop. Dr.T. Ravisankar, Principal Scientist and Head, Social Sciences Division proposed the vote of thanks in the inaugural session. Subsequently in the technical session about 16 coastal and tribal women presented their success stories with their mentor scientists in their own language and interacted with the fellow women folk which was the unique event of the workshop. Then, Mr. S. Chinnaswamy, Assistant Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu presented a lecture on ‘Rural Tourism’ by linking agro- based units at the village level.

Later in the valedictory session, Chief Guest Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chairperson, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai honoured the women presenters. In her presidential speech, she appreciated the efforts taken by ICAR-CIBA in developing aquaculture based sustainable livelihood development models for the coastal families. Educating the coastal poor on balanced nutrition, climate change impact and creating awareness on eco-tourism in the coastal areas are important she underlined.

MSSRF is in the process of signing a MoU with CIBA for jointly implementing aquaculture based livelihood development projects in Cuddalore and Myladuthurai districts of Tamil Nadu she informed. Mr. S. Chinnaswamy, Assistant Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu in his felicitation address highlighted the scope for collaborative projects with CIBA in developing rural tourism. At the end, Dr.B.Santhi, Principal Scientist and Coordinator presented the recommendations of the workshop and the event ended with the vote of thanks by Dr.C.V. Sairam, Principal Scientist & Officer-in-Charge, PME, ICAR-CIBA.

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No Thoughts on Coastal and Tribal Women Shared their Success Stories of Aquaculture Based livelihood development at the National Workshop Held at ICAR-CIBA, Chennai on 23 June, 2023