The Pali district in arid Rajasthan may not be an ideal place for shrimp cultivation. But well-known aquaculture specialist Dr Manoj Sharma has proved it wrong with bumper shrimp harvest in the region.
He is hopeful that western Rajasthan will become a hub of shrimp farming and provide livelihood opportunities to hundreds.
Dr Sharma, widely credited as being an integral force for the shrimp farming revolution in Gujarat’s Surat region, carried out phase-wide trial in Rajpura Tehsil of Pali to make the water and soil suitable to support shrimp cultivation in the. The result was overwhelming.
“With God’s blessing finally with three trials and error, we harvested bumper crop with a production of 12 ton per hactare in 96 days of crop,” said Dr Sharma.
Pali district is not a familiar name with shrimp farming or a place for cultivation given the nature of the topography, the soil texture, salt content and the water. While there are a few pockets in Rajasthan with sporadic shrimp farming, sustaining cultivation is fraught with challenges.
“Initially we setup trial in 1000 litre plastic tank and released only 1000 Pl. We studied the growth and survival rate till 90 days. Shrimp mortality , however, was very high during moulting period and hardly few pieces has reached 10 gms growth,” Dr Sharma narrated while sharing his experience. He also recounts how Mr Paresh Kriplani was instrumental in shaping up and execution of the project.
He took up the trial in the Tehsil following an invitation by Pushpendra Singh Rathore and Shri Narpat singh Rathore who owe the Pal Haveli in Jodhpur, a heritage property. The Rathore brothers had been closely following his ground-breaking work in shrimp cultivation in neighbouring Gujarat and approached him to emulate similar feat in Rajasthan.
The trial was started in 2018. Based on the water quality, his team adjusted parameters like calcium to magnesium ratio with proper value of potassium. The water quality report was 4 ppt salinity with hardness 1200 ppm, but alkalinity was above 550 ppm and no one had the reference to growth of Vannamei shrimp in such high alkalinity. The team also used loads of fermented organic slurry to balance buffer.
This experiment was followed with the second trial in earthen pond of 1 acre. The result was very encouraging, “but we found loads of sulphur issues and soil was getting high h2s problem.”
In third trial, Dr Sharma’s team made four polyline ponds with size 2000 sq/m each and used combination aeration and stocked 60 pcs stocking. The team followed it with weekly water quality parameters and adjusted mineral profile accordingly.
The result is going to bring a sea change in the western districts of the State. He reckons that one hactare of this waste land has the potential to produce USD 30 K and can provide employment to 40 people. “Our good work can transform the lives of rural people of western Rajasthan”, he said.
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