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Saturday, December 09, 2006

NABARD to set up fish farmers' club in Tuticorin

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development will establish a fish farmers' club for the first time in the district under the Vikas Volunteer Vahini scheme.

Official sources said the proposed club would come up shortly at Taruvaikulam, one of the most prominent fishing hamlets in the district, with about 20 fishermen in its fold. Earlier, all of the 19 clubs formed in the district under VVV scheme of the NABARD comprised agricultural farmers. (i.e. this is the first time the club was going to be formed exclusively for fish farmers)

Speaking to The Hindu, R Bharat Kumar, Assistant General Manager, NABARD, said the main objective of forming the club was to make the farmers' help the banks to know the credit needs of the respective villages and thereby strengthen the credit delivery system in the rural areas.

About the activities of the club, Mr. Kumar said the members would be convening regular meetings to discuss various topics pertaining to fishing and its related activities and measures that need to be adopted to bring on value-addition to their profession.

Besides, plans for product diversification and adoption of techniques like crab and lobster fattening, that fetch better unit value realization would come up for discussion in the meetings.

The NABARD official said the members of the club would also contemplate alternative income generation activities like seaweed culture, which need to be practised during the lean fishing seasons.

"This will avoid over dependence of fishing alone," he added.

On the financial assistance to the club, he said the NABARD would provide Rs.3,000 each year as maintenance grant, apart from meeting the expenses of seminars and exposure visits conducted by the club.

"By providing fianancial aid for seminars and exposure visits, fish farmers would be able to get a platform to assimilate latest fish farming techniques prevailed elsewhere," he added.

To meet the credit needs of its members, the club would tie-up with one of the regional rural banks in the district, Pandyan Grama Bank, Taruvaikulam branch.

Mr. Kumar said the tie-up would be of immense use to the bank too, as the club in return would help the bank in identifying fresh borrowers from the area and assist the bank officials in their loan recovery drives.

Thus the club would act as a bridge between the branch and the village.

Source: The Hindu

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