Meghalaya Aquaculture Mission: From Dependence to Self sufficiency

Posted in March 2012

Thomas Lim
In most of the culture, Water has been known to be a womb symbol and as such, an emblem of birth, fertility and woman-ness. This association comes from many ancient flood myths, and “from water springs life” concept.
The fish too has similar symbolic meaning. There are numerous species of fish, but the creature in general holds some prime symbolic meanings: fertility, eternity, creativity, femininity, good luck, happiness, knowledge and transformation.
In Christianity, the fish is a symbol of abundance and faith as observed in the Biblical story of fishes and loaves. There are also several Biblical references as Christ and his disciples being “fishers of men.” Here, man is represented as the transformational fish and the ocean is a symbol of the abyss of sin in which man finds himself.
The launching of Meghalaya Aquaculture Mission on March 5, 2012 in the midst of about thousands of citizens from all the seven districts of Meghalaya at Polo ground, Shillong, the heads of government and district administrators. Cabinet members, the Legislatures and Members of District Councils had showcase the flavors of Meghalaya, and the desire of the stakeholders to enthusiastically partake in the State Aquaculture Mission aiming to relief the state economy from Dependence to Self sufficiency!
The state has been so far importing cattle, poultry and even eggs for public consumption and the fishes come from as far as Andhra Pradesh. (The requirement of the fish is about 15,000 MT, and Meghalaya only produces about 5,000 MT, this Mission aims at reducing the gap.) By the time the frozen fishes reach the local markets in Meghalaya the fish loses its flavor and taste thereby depriving the consumers a sumptuous meal comprising fish.  The Fisheries department in Meghalaya envisages a day when the people of this state can have a good meal with fresh fish dishes as and when they feel like to have such a meal. This newspaper salutes such initiatives.
Here let us also ponder a moment on the need to create more awareness among the people of this state about the local produces and their availability and also the need to encourage such ventures which will bring in sustainable revenue generation at the grassroots level in rural and urban areas alike.
The contemporary generation - the generation of branded goods- refuses to actually even give a cursory glance to any of the local products from the state whether it is honey, spices, or cashew nuts. Meghalaya has it all, be it garments or herbal medicines, preserved foods to house-holds products, human resources to natural resources. Some of the processed fruits produced in the state are simply among the best available in the country and yet they have no adequate market space available in Shillong, Jowai, Tura or Nongstoin thereby rendering these production units economically unviable for the owners.
We, the people of this state are more drawn into the vortex of politicizing each and every move of the state government and even those who are willing to come and invest here. We are apprehensive and reasonably; paranoid about intentions and beyond that.  We allow a few with vested interests to blight our vision thereby allowing us not to indulge in self help and also not availing unselfish help from outside. This attitude has to be said good bye if we, as a people, are to become self sufficient in all aspects of human living.
The change in attitude will also enable us to be confident of our moorings, our intention to live in this world as we are with all our traditional uniqueness.
It is time for every individual in the state to contribute to the development of the state by encouraging and participating in the activities initiated by the state government so that we can be self-sufficient.
Only mass participation can take any project ahead, be it pisciculture, growing strawberries, flowers or pineapples or the locally manufactured hardware to hollow bricks. Now Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission. All such activities need support and encouragement from each individual in the state. We hope that this happens.

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