An inspiring story of a fish farmer’s journey to award winning success

Dr Ch Basudha, Dr Arati N, Dr L Kanta Singh, W Anand Meetei, Dr Th Motilal, Dr Ch Premabati Devi and K Lily Rangnamei
Contd from previous issue
Due to proper management of fish stock, pond water, and feed management, fish survival rate and growth improved. There were fewer cases of disease incidence in comparison with traditional fish farming.
Several fish farmers, entrepreneurs, and Government officials visit his farm regularly to observe. Many farmers in the neighbouring villages appreciated his work and copied his fish-rearing practices. Motivated by his success, more than 20% of neighbouring village farmers adopted short-duration carp culture farming to sustain their livelihood. Nowadays, Rohendro is arranging regular interaction-cum-demonstration programmes with his fellow fish farmers from different valley districts of Manipur to educate and motivate fish farmers and anyone interested in fisheries. Many farmers have benefitted from these interaction programmes in short-duration culture systems with diversified fish species.
In 2020-21, more than 70% of farmers in neighbouring villages adopted his pond design: pond construction methods, water management, and selecting fish for stocking in their ponds. The many awards Rohendro won has made him immensely popular and a role model among farmers.
As he has been working on fish production for a long time and has gained good skills and knowledge, he was chosen by ICAR fishery scientists for the rearing of Sareng and initiated by stocking 200 fingerlings in the year 2021. The growth performance and survival rate of Sareng are encouraging. It could attain 2.0 kg in 8 months on his farm, and Rohendro again participated as a Sareng producer in the Fish Fair cum Fish Crop Competition 2022 organised by the Directorate of Fisheries, Government of Manipur 2022.
Rearing Sareng (W. attu) is not child’s play but a challenge for any fish farmer. Sareng is known as a freshwater shark. It is entirely carnivorous (piscivorous, prefers eating fish) with a cannibalistic habit too.
Unlike another known carnivorous fish Ngaihei (Pangasius), it cannot be reared on artificial feed. It hunts like a shark at night (nocturnal), and it feeds on live prey, which it prefers to hunt at night. As everyone knows, Sareng does not have scales, and during hunting for prey at night, they fight among themselves and bite one another. Wounds and scratches that develop on the thin skin may lead to the death of the fish later. Such deaths are more common than due to diseases. Due to their predatory and cannibalistic behaviour, they cannot be reared/stocked together with other fishes but should have a pond dedicated to themselves. Another less-known fact is that Sareng eats other Sareng too (cannibalism), so a pond should stock Sareng fishes of the same size and age to prevent cannibalism. Otherwise, the bigger fishes prey on the small ones.
Consequently, Shri Rohendro was conferred the Best Innovative Farmers Award for his outstanding fish farming performance during the North East Krishi Kumbha 2023 and the 49th Foundation Day of ICAR Research Complex for the North-Eastern Hills Region, Umiam, Meghalaya. The ceremony was graced by Shri Narender Singh Tomar, Hon’ble Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India, Dr SK Chaudhari, Deputy Director General (NRM) ICAR, New Delhi and Dr Anupam Mishra, Vice-Chancellor, CAU, Imphal. Recently, Shri Rohendro Singh has been invited by Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussorie, for interaction in the session “Kissan Sambad: Learning from Progressive Farmers Module” of IAS Professional Course Phase-I on 7th March 2023.
Rohendro is a successful fish farmer representing an amalgamation of modern scientific agro-technologies, economic prosperity and human values of simplicity and thriftiness. Hardworking and scientifically inclined farmers must be identified, trained and supported until they can establish themselves. Farmers’ associations and groups also need to be mobilised and coordinated with pre-determined goals fixed in advance. Manipur can become self-sufficient in fish production only when fifty Rohendros are spread throughout the State in every district.
Awarded First prize with Rs 1,00,000.00 cash prize for the highest fish producer in Individual category and certificate by Salam (O) Binodini Devi w/o Salam Rohendro Singh  from Shri L Shushindro Meetei, Minister of Public Health Engineering Department, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Department. Awarded Progressive Farmer Award 2021-22' on National Fish Farmer’s Day’on 11th July 2022 at ICAR-Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research, Bhimtal 263136, Nainital, Uttarkhand, India.
Haricharan Das Memorial Best Progressive Fish Farmer Award 2022 during an International Conference on “Responsible Aquaculture and Sustainable Fisheries Interact (RASHI)” at College of Fisheries, Central Agricultural University, Tripura. Best Innovative Farmers Award” for his outstanding contribution in fish farming during the North East Krishi Kumbha 2023 at ICAR Research complex for NEH Region, Umiam, Meghalaya.