Israeli tech to revolutionise farming of fresh-water prawns
TNN | Jan 2, 2014
KOCHI: A fresh-water prawn (scampi) farming project, which is based on a new bio-technology method developed in Israel and has the potential to triple the production of this variety in India, has started running commercially in Kerala with the support of Marine Products Export Development Authority (Mpeda).
Developed by Professor Amir Sagi of Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, the new method allows farmers to grow all-male prawn population, which will grow three times larger than the female ones over a six-month period, without genetic modification or using chemicals or hormones. "While fresh-water female prawns grow to 15g to 25g in size over a period of six months, male prawns will grow to 80g to 130g during the farming season," said M Shaji, deputy director of Kochi-based Mpeda. The agency had been running test projects at Manikonda, near Vijayawada, in collaboration with Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA), and the results were quite promising.
Now Mpeda has started commercial farming using the new method in a private farm at Muthalamada in Palakkad district.
"With this new technology, a farmer could get 2 - 3 tonnes of fresh-water prawns from a hectare of farm annually and it fetches upwards of Rs 500 per kg. If you implement this technology in 2,000 hectares of available farms in Kerala, it could generate yearly revenues of Rs 200 crore," Shaji said. "India is the first country to use this technology and now it is being used in Vietnam, China and Myanmar," said Sagi, who is a consultant to RGCA and supervising the projects run in Andhra Pradesh.