Vol. 11 No. 1
Socio-economic profile and problems of mud-crab farmers of South 24-Parganas, West Bengal: an explorative study
Abstract: Aquaculture of the mud crab has been practised for the past 100 years in China and for the past 30 years throughout Asia. Almost all crab aquaculture production relies on wild-caught stock, as larval rearing has not yet reached a commercially viable level for stocking into aquaculture farms. Crab meat is virtually cent per cent fat-free, rich in protein and offers no carbohydrates. According to dieticians, crab meat fits in perfectly with the new dietary guidelines, which suggest high-protein foods that are lean and either low-fat or fat free. In India aquaculture has emerged as an important farming activity transforming aquaculture from a traditional livelihood-support rural activity to a profit oriented production system. It could be able to improve the livelihood of the fishers as well as ensuring nutritional security. Keeping in view the facts the present study was designed with the following specific objectives, i.e., to study the socio-economic profile of the crab farmers, to study the present status of the crab farmers and to study the constraints encountered in crab farming. The present study was conducted in randomly selected three villages of Gosaba block in South 24-Parganas district of West Bengal as it has the highest crab farmer concentration. Three villages from the Lahiripur Gram Panchayat area of Gosaba block were selected by simple random sampling technique. A total of 120 crab farmers were listed out from the said locale and out of them, 60 crab farmer, those who are presently involved in crab farming were selected for this study. The findings of the study showed that 84% of respondents belonged to rural areas and their age varied from 17-60 years, in which majority (46.67 %) were in middle aged (26-50 years) category. Out of the total number of respondents, 70% were male and rest 30% female. Majority of the respondents were having the educational qualification up to high school level. 68.33 % respondents belonged to Scheduled Caste followed by General category and Scheduled Tribe. Majority (81.67%) of the respondents were having land access to less than 10 cottah and owned medium sized (4-8 Katha) water bodies. About 58.33 % of respondents belonged to Above Poverty Level (APL) category followed by 41.67 % Below Poverty Level (BPL) category. Most of the respondents (93.33%) preferred their fellow friends as a reliable source of information, followed by Radio (88.33%), Relatives (78.33%) and Fishery Extension Officers (FEOs) (35%). Majority of the respondents (61.67%) practised intensive crab culture technique and 83.33 % preferred the November-February duration as an ideal time for crab farming with seeds collected from the wild (68.33%) i.e. from swamps and derelict water bodies. It was conspicuous from the present study that majority of the respondents used trash Puntias sp. as supplementary feed. As far as the disease outbreak in crab farming was concerned, 35% of respondents reported that crabs suffered from ulcer on carapace and necrosis of appendages and they used lime and KMnO4 to get rid of these diseases. Lack of crab seeds emerged as prime constraint followed by marketing problem, transport problem, credit problem and problems related to diseases.
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