Farmers in Andamans fear losing out on shrimp farming

By Sanjib Kumar Roy
Published: Saturday 31 March 2007

-- (Credit: SANJIB KUMAR ROY)farmers in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are in a fix as the administration's plan to start shrimp culture--an alternative livelihood option--is likely to be nipped in the bud. The Marine Products Export Development Authority (mpeda) is going ahead with its project to produce specific pathogen free shrimp brooders or parent shrimps in the islands. mpeda has asked the centre to ban shrimp culture in the islands to block the inflow of infected shrimp seeds from the mainland. The export development authority says shrimp produced in the mainland is prone to infections like the white spot virus and fears that the virus might affect shrimp production in the islands.

The island's administration is, however, going ahead with its plan.The Central Agricultural Research Institute, Port Blair, supports the administration, saying seawater-inundated land is good for shrimp culture. But farmers allege that such high-level planning never takes care of their needs."mpeda will not allow us to practise shrimp culture. We don't have any alternatives," says Saraswati Narayan, the pradhan of Sippighat village in south Andaman.

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