Empowering rural women through small-scale Freshwater ornamental fish culture

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Ornamental fish production is one of the sunrise sectors growing at an annual rate of 14%. Currently about 280 exotic species and about 100 indigenous species of ornamental fish are being produced and traded. India’s share in ornamental fish export is only 1% of the total traded value of 6 billion US$ per annum. Tremendous scope exists for production and domestic trade as well as export of ornamental fishes. The ornamental fish industry has enormous potential in tropical countries. The demands for ornamental fishes are increasing rapidly. The huge variety and potentiality of indigenous and exotic ornamental fishes make the trade stronger. Considering the proven success of women in development of homestead enterprise in farming of ornamental fish in different parts of the country, due emphasis was given for creation of Self Help Groups for such enterprise. KVK Murshidabad took an initiative in 2014 to support 14 nos. of  house women’s to start small scale ornamental fish culture unit at Balarampur, Palasbati and Hossain Nagar village under Bhagwangola-I block in West Bengal. Initially these house women’s were engaged in biri making and credit functions. The SMS of Fishery Science of KVK Murshidabad took interest to motivate the women on the opportunities of ornamental fish culture for business purpose. In this regard, a total of 14 nos. of unemployed village women were selected for popularizing such enterprise in the village.

Prerequites for ornamental fish culture:

  •  For small scale culture, a minimum of 6x3x1.5 ft tank is required.
  • A shade facility is required above the cement tanks and anti-bird nets are required above the earthen ponds for breeding and rearing of ornamental fishes.
  • Sufficient water and electricity supply at the breeding and rearing units are important.
  • Farm made aqua pellets can be prepared by using different agricultural byproducts.
  • Live food like Zooplankton, Tubifex, Blood worms, Chopped Earthworms etc. are also very much essential for brood fishes and larvae.
  • For proper marketing of fish, better communication facility (roadways/ rail/ airport) is required nearby to the farm
    KVK intervention:

    These house women were facilitated to develop themselves as entrepreneurs, through several capacity building programmes and trainings, with technical support from KVK, Murshidabad in the year 2014. The training ensured a common platform for all stakeholders. The first round of training focused on aspects of different culture process, maintaining the good water quality, feeding habit of different species, disease management.  KVK, Murshidabad also provided hands on training on how to make aquarium and setting of aquarium accessories etc.

     Production cycle:


     As per the record in April 2017,  the farm women are producing only goldfishes due to hardy and required very small area. They culture this species in cement tanks or in low cost polythene tanks. For rearing of 500-700 nos. fry of goldfish, the farm women are using 6x3x1.5 ft tank.  They generally use wheat flour, groundnut oil cake, mustard oil cake and pelleted feed (26% protein) to feed their goldfish fry.

    Table 1: Feed requirements for rearing 500 nos. of goldfish fry

    Feed Ingredients Quantity/day Duration (day)
    Wheat flour/groundnut oil cake 15g First 15 days
    Wheat flour/groundnut oil cake 30g Next 15 days
    Mustard oil cake/pelleted feed 50g Next 15 days
    Mustard oil cake/pelleted feed 100g Next 15 days
    Mustard oil cake/pelleted feed 150g Next 15 days
    Mustard oil cake/pelleted feed 210 g Next 15 days

    Table 2: Production cost of 500 nos. of goldfish fry

    Categories Rate (Rs.) Amount (Rs.)
    Seed cost Rs. 0.35/pc 175.0
    Feeding cost Rs. 26/kg 216.0
    Medicine (Methylene blue)   50.0
    Total 441.00

     Table 3: Income from 500 nos. of goldfish fry

    Categories Survival rate (%) Rate (Rs.) Income (Rs.)
    Goldfishes 80 Rs. 10.0/pc 4000.00


    The farmers can earn more than Rs. 1000 per month after 80-90 days of rearing of 500 nos. of goldfish fry. They sell their products in local Jiaganj ornamental fish seller who are linked with an exporter.

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