Training cum ToT programme for Tribal Fisherfolk


 Training cum Transfer of Technologies Programme for Tribal Fisherfolk

As a part of implementation of Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) of Government of India for the betterment of tribal communities in Maharashtra state, Mumbai Research Centre of ICAR-CIFT has conducted a three days Training cum Transfer of Technologies (ToT) programme to distribute and demonstrate coracles, FRP canoes and value added products for tribal fisherfolk at Usgaon, an inland fishing village in Thane district of Maharashtra during 25-27 April, 2016. Representatives and members of four tribal fishermen cooperative societies in Thane district of Maharashtra viz. Usgaon, Kothare, Shirvanje and Vasai and Tribal women members from three self help groups from Usgaon in Thane district of Maharashtra viz. Bhartiya SHG, Savita SHG and Kranti SHG attended the programme.


Distribution and demonstration of the coracles and FRP canoes: The programme started with placing of ICAR-CIFT and TSP stickers on FRP canoes (costing around Rs. 6,08,684/-) and coracles (worth around Rs. 1,85,550/-) followed by distribution and demonstration of the same to the representatives of the four tribal fishermen societies by Dr. L.N. Murthy, Scientist Incharge of the Centre and his team. A total of six FRP canoes and 10 coracles were distributed to them.

Fishermen expressed positive response towards the demonstrated technology and also showed the readiness to make use of the same for fishing operation. While demonstration of the distributed coracles and FRP canoes, fishermen could recognize some lacunas and they suggested few modifications which are as follows:


Ø  Length and width of the FRP canoes and diameter of the coracles may be smaller than the provided so that single person can conveniently operate the boat since in these areas, individual fishing is common.

Ø  Sitting arrangement may be provided in the coracles in order to operate it with ease.

Ø  The oars are heavy in weight which makes it sink in water and difficult to use. So weight of oars may be reduced for ease of operation.

After the distribution, the programme continued with welcome address by Smt. Priyanka Nakhawa, Technical assistant. Smt. Priyanka also explained the objectives and provisions under TSP of Government of India and the role of ICAR-CIFT under TSP as well as incentives provided under the same such as insulated fish bags, meat mincer, sealing machine for the socio-economic upliftment of the tribal communities in rural India.

The representatives of the tribal fishermen societies then shared their opinions about the programme, incentives and expressed their further needs. The issues put forth by tribal representatives and addressed by Dr. L.N. Murthy are as follows:

1. Availability of quality fish seed: Tribal fishermenmentioned that the use of technologies transferred like crafts, gears, fish boxes, processing equipments, etc. will be effective only when there will be good fish production from the reservoirs. In order to increase the productivity, they need quality freshwater fish seed in subsidized rates. Currently, they are getting fish seed of poor quality with mixed varieties and high mortality which is not affordable to the Societies.  Dr. Murthy ensured them that he will put forward this issue to the concerned organizations through the Director of the Institute.
2. Increasing the quantity of incentives: Beneficiaries expressed thatthe quantity of materials such as crafts, gears and processing equipments, etc. distributed under TSP programme held at Shahapur are less than the requirement of beneficiaries. Due to this demand supply gap, chances of disputes among the members of the Society on the use of the material arises which should be taken into account while distributing the material. Dr. Murthy cleared their doubts by explaining that the materials distributed under TSP are from the limited allotted fund for the respective financial year which is to be distributed on pilot basis.  He also emphasized that only after assessing the usefulness of the same for the tribal fisherfolk, The Institute can think of increasing the quantity in the next financial year.
3. Availability of the reservoir tenders to the locals: Online tender system started two years back. Because of the high tender amount, Societies of local fishermen with few members cannot afford to take the tender due to insufficient funds which makes it available to outside communities. It is of great loss to the local fishermen who are dependent on reservoirs for their livelihood. Since the matter is out of context of the ICAR-CIFT mandate, it has been advised to the Societies to contact State Fisheries Department.
4. Need for proper marketing strategy for fish and value added products: While discussing the issue, fishermen raised concern about the presence of middlemen in the marketing channel who gives low rates to their fish. In case of marketing of the value added products, transportation is difficult due to the distant markets. However, they expressed keen interest to prepare and sell value added products from the available varieties of fishes.
After the discussion, Dr. Murthy addressed the gathering. In his address he highlighted that the fund received under TSP is a national fund that has to be used strictly for the betterment of the tribal communities in all states including Maharashtra and urged the fishermen for proper use of the given material. It was followed by demonstration of hygienic fish handling and value added fish products to the tribal fisherwomen.

Demonstration of hygienic fish handling practices: Demonstration of hygienic handling of fish to the participants was conducted by Shri Tulsiram Waghmare, Senior Technician under the guidance of Dr. L.N. Murthy and Smt. U. Parvathy, Scientist. The hygienic way of deheading, descaling and fin removal was demonstrated. Filleting operation in order to get higher filleting yield was also shown to the tribal fisherwomen. Headgears, aprons, mouth pieces, cutting boards and knives were also provided to the tribal fisherwomen. Demonstration as well as hands on training for hygienic handling and filleting of fish was also given to the tribal fisherwomen. 


                             Dr. L.N. Murthy  delivering his talk                          Demonstration of product preparation


Preparation and packing of shrimp pickle: Preparation and packing of shrimp pickle in standing pouch was participatively done by the fisherwomen. All the participants tasted the product and gave their feedback based on sensory characteristics.


Preparation of battered and breaded fish products: Hands on training cum demonstration for preparation of battered and breaded products viz. fish fingers, fish cutlets and butterfly shrimp (Nobashi style) was also given to tribal fisherwomen. All the participants were asked to sensorily evaluate the product and give feed backs.
Demonstration of product preparation 
Distribution of the fish processing equipments and other incentives:

Distribution of fish processing equipments such as insulated fish bags, sealing machines, hand operated meat mincers, fish cutting boards, knives etc. from the allotted fund was carried out by Dr. Murthy along with other team members. When suitability related suggestions about insulated fish bags were asked to fisherwomen, they preferred rectangular shape insulated fish bags over round shaped ones.  


                                 Distribution of meat mincer                                      Distribution of insulated fish bags  
Group discussion and feedback session: After the product demonstration, the Chairman of a Society gave their feedback about the programme where he highlighted the usefulness of  material provided for the tribal community. He requested Dr. L.N. Murthy to extend the same support to the tribals of his area in future and the Institute to conduct training programme on fishing technologies.
The programme ended with the concluding remarks and vote of thanks by Dr. L.N. Murthy where he highlighted that the fund received under TSP is a National fund so the materials provided through this fund should be strictly used for the betterment of the tribal communities and are not intended for sale.  He urged the participants to effectively utilize the given materials; prepare and market the value added products on a small scale basis and further search for marketing opportunities of value added products in nearby areas. If good demand for the products is found, centre can think of helping in installing small retail shop for the fish products.
ICAR-CIFT team collected necessary baseline information about the tribal community from the respective Chairman of the societies. The team visited fishing village, fish markets, landing centres before returning to Mumbai.



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