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1:58:16 pm 06-November-2013
Shillong, Nov 6 (NEN): The first Meghalaya Aqua Fest was inaugurated by chief secretary W.M.S Pariat on Wednesday where thousands of fish farmers from the state participated to display and sell their fish.

The two-day fest is a mini buyer-seller meet organized by the Meghalaya Fisheries Department. The department is hoping that the fish farmers will be able to sell around 10 MT of fish in the fest.

Six fish farmers from the Khasi, Jaintia and Ri Bhoi districts were also given citation and cash awards during the inauguration of the Aquafest for being role-models for other fish farmers.

Another such “Aqua Fest” will be organized in Tura on Nov 15 to enable the fish farmers from the five districts of the Garo hills to showcase and sell fresh fish to the consumers.
As of now, fish are being exported from Andhra Pradesh to Meghalaya, covering thousands of kilometres as the state is unable to produce enough fish to meet the consumers’ requirements.

Meghalaya gets around 25,000 MT of fishes from Andhra Pradesh annually. Looking at the huge fish market, the Meghalaya government launched the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission last year not only to meet the culinary and employment demand within the state, but also to provide consumers with fresh and healthy fish – a great source of vitamin.

Meghalaya fisheries department principal secretary KN Kumar said that over 6,000 fish ponds will be put in place at an estimate cost of Rs 65.18 crore under the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission, which will increase the fish production to around 20,000 MT by 2018.
Kumar also informed that the production from these fish ponds under the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission will begin from June-July 2014.

Pariat, in his inaugural address, said that within a short span of time the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission has proved to be an extremely successful project because of the enthusiasm shown by the fish farmers, who are the stakeholders, and also the officials of the state fisheries department who have equipped them with the knowledge and techniques needed to be successful fish farmers.

Pariat also acknowledged the active involvement of the Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank (MCAB) and State Bank of India (SBI) in lending their support to the fish farmers in providing all the financial assistance necessary.
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