The ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIBA) conducted the Shrimp Farmers Conclave-2023 on 1st August, 2023 at the Faculty of Marine Sciences, Annamalai University wherein about 431 shrimp farmers cutting across the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu participated. In addition to that officials, technicians, faculty and students were also participated in large number. The main themes of the conclave were, the shrimp export present scenario and immediate prospects, disease prevention and management with special reference to Hepatopancreatic microsporidiosis (HPM) caused by a microsporidian (Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP), crop insurance for shrimp farming, development of Genetically Improved Indian White Shrimp (Penaeus indicus) and diversification of brackishwater aquaculture with Mudcrab and Asian Seabass fish. Inaugurating the conclave Dr. RM. Kathiresan, the Vice Chancellor, Annamalai University articulated that both ‘top-down and bottom up approaches’ (Lab-to-land & Land-to-Lab) are essential to develop and solve practical solutions of the farming community. Further, Private-Public-Farmer-Partnership is the mantra for making the farming science-led and hi-tech based to increase the food production and ensure the entrepreneurship and attracting the youth towards farming. A MoU was signed between the ICAR-CIBA and Annamalai University for R&D collaboration during the occasion. The issues faced by the shrimp farmers and the expectations of the farmers form the government side were succinctly explained by Shri. G.M. Sridhar Vaandaiyar and Shri. Ali Hussain, the former and incumbent presidents of the Tamil Nadu Coastal Aqua farmers Federation (TANCAFF).
The Govt. of India under the Prime Minister’s Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) funding the National Disease Surveillance Programme for Aquatic Animal Diseases (NSPAAD) for reporting of emerging disease pathogens in the country and a “Report Fish Disease APP” was developed for reporting of existing and emerging pathogens by the farmers was demonstrated to the farmers during the conclave, said Dr. Kuldeep K Lal, Director, ICAR-CIBA. Further, the launching of the Genetically Improved Indian White Shrimp (Penaeus indicus) programme under the PMMSY support and the importance having a genetically improved native shrimp species was articulated by Dr. Akshya Panigrahi, the PI of the project.
Reducing production cost was an important need to ensure the profitability of shrimp farming, for that efficient feed management is one the solutions said Dr. K. Ambasankar, Head, Nutrition Division of CIBA. A vivid presentation on the Hepatopancreatic microsporidiosis (HPM) caused by a microsporidian (Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP), its diagnosis and Management in shrimp farms was made by Dr. T. Sathishkumar, Scientist of ICAR-CIBA. During his presentation, the promising results given by a therapeutic developed by CIBA to manage the EHP pathogen in shrimp farms was also given. During the occasion CIBA signed a MoU with Ms. Meenam Aqua Private Ltd. for wider validation of the therapeutic developed in front of the huge audience present. Subsequently, a special session on ‘Shrimp Crop Insurance’ was convened wherein the Agricultural Insurance of Corporation of India, United India Insurance Corporation of India and the mediator Alliance Insurance Brokers along with Dr. T. Ravisankar, Principal Scientist, CIBA and Mr. Pradeep Kumar, Executive Director, the National Fisheries Development Board participated and explained about the insurance product developed by the United India for shrimp farming and the premiums for basic and disease cover and the 20-30% subsidy component provided by the NFDB. The farmers were optimistic about the scheme and expressed their willingness to participate in that.
The registration of shrimp farms with the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA), Govt. of India for availing any govt. schemes and reforms brought out in the registration were clearly articulated by Dr. V. Kripa, Member Secretary, CAA. She assured the farmers that CAA will work for consideration of aquaculture as a farming activity and inclusion of it as a farming sector in national disaster management list. Subsequently, shrimp farmers expressed their issues, requirements especially on shrimp seed quality, shrimp price, electricity tariff etc, before an inter-departmental panel of officials and got advisories. Later, Dr. M. Kailasam and Dr. C.P. Balasubramanian, Heads of Departments, CIBA on presented on diversification of brackishwater Aquaculture respectively with Asia seabass and Mud crab and their farming practices.
The conclave was conducted with the financial support of the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Govt. of India under the PMMSY scheme, the MPEDA, SCAFi and Agricultural Insurance Corporation Ltd. Dr. M. Kumaran, and Dr. K.P. Kumaraguru Vasagam, Principal Scientists, ICAR-CIBA were the coordinators of the farmers conclave and conclave ended with the vote of thanks by them.