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National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA)

National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA) was established by MPEDA in the year 2007 as an outreach organization for uplifting the livelihood of small-scale shrimp farmers. More than 90% of Indian shrimp farmers belong to small-scale or marginal category with operational holdings of less than two hectare per individual. Till recent years, each farmer’s production system was independent and unsynchronised with that of neighbouring farmers. They mostly adopted traditional methods for operating their farms and did not have access to technological innovations and scientific applications. NaCSA started grouping these farmers into societies and educated them on better management practices (BMP) for safe and sustainable shrimp farming. NaCSA also trained these farmer societies to follow cluster approach in shrimp farming. Cluster refers to interdependent aquaculture ponds often situated in a specified geographical locality and in close proximity to each other with the following characteristics:

  • sharing resources or infrastructure (e.g. water sources or effluent discharge system)
  • having the same production system
  • involving the same candidate species

The primary advantage of cluster approach to shrimp farming is that it enables participating farmers to organize the schedule of farm operations, quality seed procurement, simultaneous stocking, water exchange and harvesting regimes contributing to substantial reduction in cost of production and also prevention of vertical and intra cluster transmission of disease. The aqua societies ensure social and environmental responsibility, and food safety. The members are able to reduce the production cost through efficient use of resources, avoiding unwanted chemicals and antibacterial agents, and sharing of expenses for developing infrastructure such as deepening of canals, seed testing, transportation of inputs, lab, electricity etc.

Despite of all precautions, if an outbreak of disease occurs, the farmer immediately reports it to the aqua society. The society then convenes an emergency meeting and decides the course of action.

Till date, NaCSA has organized 834 societies in seven coastal states of India comprising 18,399 farmers and a total culture area of 16,702 hectares.

State wise societies organized by NaCSA

State Number of Societies Number of Farmers Area (Ha)
Andhra Pradesh 643 14.179 12.936
Tamil Nadu 49 1.184 1.988
Odisha 61 1.288 861
Karnataka, Goa & Kerala 24 439 450
West Bengal 57 1.309 457
Total 834 18.399 16.702

Each society after being registered under State Registration Act, has to get MPEDA permanent registration so that NaCSA can facilitate MPEDA Financial Scheme benefits to them. All documentation with regards to MPEDA subsidy is being carried out by NaCSA. Apart from this, NaCSA provides round the clock technical support to the farmers and conducts various capacity building sessions. Regular meetings are conducted to make the farmers abreast of latest trends and developments in aquaculture, market trends and dangers of using banned antibiotics in culture operations.

The farmer in societies can sell his product according to his wish and bargain the better price with group approach. Shrimp harvesting is normally done after 120 days of culture when the shrimp have attained 20 g -30g average body weight. In some cases, the culture period is extended to 130 - 150 days to get a bigger size. Society facilities access to institutional finance and insurance. It is a source for linking the farmers with processors and exporters for better market access and price. There are signs of increased confidence in shrimp farming through cluster approach, resulting in more and more farmers join to form societies and implementing BMPs.

The society help its members to obtain licenses from the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) by providing necessary documentation. It has close contacts with district and regional level associations and deputes its members to attend the meetings for promotion of shrimp culture. The society maintains good rapport with the local people and offers generous donations for festivals, schools and other charitable works. It interacts closely with the district administration and helps in procuring development schemes for the welfare of the local community.

Objectives of NaCSA:

  • Promote science-based management to improve aquaculture sustainability through participatory approach
  • Empower and build capacity of small scale aquaculture farmers
  • Facilitate improved service provision to small scale aquaculture farmers
  • Connect farmers to markets to receive better prices for good quality products
  • Facilitate interaction among stakeholders by promoting better management practices to improve aquaculture productivity and profits

Way Forward:

  • NaCSA plan is to organize small scale shrimp farmers in India in to 1500 societies in next two years and help them sustain shrimp farming and their livelihood.
  • Help societies switch to sustainable energy resources for their routine farm operations
  • Facilitate access to institutional finance and insurance
  • Linking societies to processors for better market access and price
  • Cluster certification of about 100 societies will be taken up to help societies meet emerging market requirements and further improving the market access for their produce