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Division of Aquaculture, ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai conceptualized and conducted a Skill Development Training Programme (SDP) on “Freshwater Pearl Culture” from 21st to 23rd June, 2023, coordinated by Dr Upasana Sahoo and Dr Paramita Banerjee Sawant. The mainstay of the market in pearls in India is sustained by the foreign export from China. Freshwater pearl culture is a recent technology in India, which needs to be disseminated to our farmers, which not only can add up to their income, but also help in justifying the “Make in India” campaign by production of “Swadeshi Pearls”. Keeping this in mind, the course was structured in a readily understandable and user-friendly manner, with emphasis on hands-on practical’s along with relevant lectures. A total of 12 participants (3 females and 9 males) from various backgrounds (doctors, entrepreneurs, retired teachers and students) were trained in the programme. Topics covered dealt with the science behind pearl culture, morphology and anatomy of pearl producing mussels, preparation of graft and implantation, preparation of nucleus and images, prophylaxis and health care during pearl culture, indoor and outdoor culture of algae, identification of surgical equipment’s, formulation of bankable projects for pearl farming, water quality maintenance in pearl culture, pond preparation, and rearing of implanted mussels. Pre-evaluation and post evaluation revealed an 80% increase in knowledge of the participants with 85-90% positive feedback. Participants were keen to upgrade their skills in pearl culture techniques with other intensive aquaculture practices such as Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture Systems, which formed an important feedback to be taken up in future programs.

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