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No takers for crab farming in Goa

NT NETWORK
PANAJI
A few Goans are eager to undertake crab farming in the state but scarcity of land is keeping them from coming forward. Other reasons for only a small number of locals showing interest in cultivating crabs are difficulty in obtaining permission from the local bodies, dilapidated state of bunds, non-availability of seeds and high initial investment.
Some individuals interested in crab aquaculture said that coastal land that is suitable for crabs is owned by communidades and obtaining permission from them is going to be tough. “The government should allow lease of coastal communidade land to individuals, who want to take it up,” said Roland Afonso from St Estevem.
Afonso recently attended a programme on crab farming conducted by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI). He said that the only way the government can encourage production of crabs is by permitting lease of coastal land.
Socorro Rebeiro from Benualim, who is also keen on undertaking crab farming, said that cultivation is ideal in the mangroves. However, environment laws and opposition from activists is expected to be a hurdle. Rebeiro added that non-availability of crablets is another issue as sourcing is only possible from the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture in Chennai. The fisheries department recently conducted a three-day training programme for locals interested in crab farming at the Fishermen Training Centre, Old Goa. About 42 individuals participated in the programme and of these, only one came forward to collect the application form.
Superintendent of fisheries Dr Smita Mazumdar said that some of the participants had suitable land or owned mangroves but they are showing tepid response due to the broken down state of the bunds. “Repair of bunds is a costly affair and people are put off by the expenditure. Obtaining a no-objection certificate from panchayat for constructing ponds in khazan land is also foreseen as a major difficulty,” she said.
The fisheries department will be starting a pilot project in October 2016 at Ela Farm in Old Goa. The project will be undertaken on 0.8 ha of land and it will cost Rs 7.5 lakh, explained Mazumdar. Other than the fisheries department, TERI is also planning a demo-project after monsoon.
Harishchandra Kavelkar from Sankhali said that initiatives towards encouraging crab cultivation have increased. However, people like him who are willing to take up the farming have several concerns. “One of them is theft of the crabs before they are harvested,” he said.
To promote crab cultivation, the fisheries department had in June 2016 notified a financial assistance scheme that provides funds for setting up a crab culture unit and for purchasing seeds. Maximum funding is Rs 1.5 lakh for the unit and Rs 75,000 for the seeds.

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