Shri. A. Baburaj a traditional brackishwater fish-farmer from Kozhikode district of Kerala nominated by ICAR-CIBA, Chennai has been awarded “Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Antodaya Krishi Puraskar- 2016” by ICAR. Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Hon’ble Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare presented the award for zone XI at the function organised at Indian Institute of Spice Research, Kozhikode, Kerala on 25th September 2016.
Sri. A. Baburaj, hails from Kadalundi in Kozhikode district, Kerala has successfully adopted sustainable brackishwater aquaculture practices as a livelihood option. Shri Baburaj started his aquaculture practice through shrimp farming. The outbreak of diseases in shrimps in the mid-nineties and consequent losses led Shri Baburaj to explore other avenues in brackishwater aquaculture. He initiated pond pearlspot (Etroplus surantensis) seed production and became a pearlspot seed supplier to the etroplus farmers of North Kerala. Shri. Baburaj sought technical assistance through partnership mode from ICAR-CIBA for improving pearlspot seed production. The scientific interventions and modifications to the existing practice resulted in significantly enhancing pearlspot seed production. Shri. Baburaj has also successfully shown the way for a farmer-led multi-species multi-trophic diversified brackishwater aquaculture practice as a sustainable and profitable venture. Shri Baburaj has innovatively integrated island and farm tourism to get a premium price for his farm produce. Despite his limited schooling, Shri. Baburaj has utilised social media to his benefit for promoting his fish seed sales. Shri. Baburaj’s farm is an economically viable model of an integrated brackishwater aquaculture farming system, which has potential to duplicate, along the coastal regions for alternative livelihood and income generation.