Shillong: Meghalaya government on Wednesday said it is constructing over 6500 fish ponds with an aim to make the state self dependent on fish production and in turn provide jobs to thousands of farmers under its Aqua Culture Mission.
The state, which consumes approximately 25,000 metric tonne of fish imported 2000 km away from Andhra Pradesh and other fish producing states, aims to cut import to about 5000 metric tonne by producing over 20,000 metric tonne by the end of 2018.
"We have targeted to complete construction of 6518 fish ponds of 0.1 hectare in size each by the end of December adding roughly about 650 hectares for fish production," Principal Secretary fishery K N Kumar told reporters at the sideline of an Aqua Fest held here.
He said, the production from these ponds will begin from June-July 2014. The construction of these fish ponds are party funded by banks and partly by the state government in which entrepreneurs referred to as `partners` by the government would enjoy 60 per cent subsidy, he said.
"It does just not make sense as to why we have to import fresh water fish from 2000 km away," Kumar said, adding the government adopted a three-pronged strategy to promote fish farming by investing and providing requisite infrastructure.
Earlier, inaugurating the fest, State Chief Secretary W M S Pariat said, "Within a short span of time, the Aqua Culture Mission has proved to be an extremely successful one because of the enthusiasm from stakeholders."
He urged officials to dedicate themselves in giving the required support to farmers so that they are able to take up the Mission to a successful conclusion which could lead to a positive impact on the economic growth of the state.
State planning principal secretary R M Mishra said fisheries was a boon to the people of the state in so many ways.
Meanwhile, over 1,000 fish farmers from across the Khasi-Jaintia hills region displayed their produce at the two day fest which drew a large number of people.