Paddy fields could offer potential for aquaculture
Myanmar Government is carrying out research for a possible association between paddy and fish businesses at the Ayeyarwaddy Delta Region in order to obtain mutual benefits.
The initiative is being developed by the Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) with the support of Australia’s International Agricultural Research Department.
“The goal is to breed fish in the paddy fields. This system is also successful in the international community as well,” U Myint Zin Htoo, deputy director general of the Fisheries Department told The Myanmar Times.
According to the Department of Fisheries, the waterlogged conditions in paddy fields make the areas ideal for breeding fish, which grow along with the paddy until harvest time. This is a good option for fish breeders who find it hard to obtain approvals to use land for fish ponds. Of the 120,000 acres of land suitable for aquaculture, only half has been approved
These restrictions take place because regional and state authorities prioritise the use of land for rice cultivation and the penalty for illegal use of land for fish ponds is currently MMK 1 million (USD 677.7) per acre.
MOALI Minister Dr Aung Thu stressed the benefits that the paddy-fish pairing system would offer, since the agricultural sector is one third of GDP, accounts for two thirds of total jobs and one third of foreign income.
On the other hand, U Myint Zin Htoo stressed the challenges that need to be overcome for the paddy-fish system to be successful.
In this regard, the deputy minister suggested that the deep water areas where paddy production is low should be utilised to breed fish and clarified that research will be carried out to choose the fish compatible with the region’s weather.
The research will be carried out until 2021 and will continue depending on the results.
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