KCT Group Trust, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of Karam Chand Thapar (KCT) Group, today inaugurated a state-of-the-art Community Development Centre for Learning, Livelihood & Research (CDC-LLR) Laboratory in the city.
Dr. K. K. Vijayan, Director, ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA); Mr. Ramakanth V. Akula, CEO, The Waterbase Limited (part of KCT Group) and Ms. Shomasree Dey, Head of CSR, KCT Group were present at the inaugural ceremony.
KCT Group Trust has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ICAR-CIBA, the nodal agency for the development of brackishwater aquaculture in the country for a collaborative knowledge partnership programme for the development of brackishwater aquaculture in the country. The MoU aims to provide quality testing services and technical help to the farmers and stakeholders, through a dedicated aquatic animal health and environmental laboratory. Under this joint programme, the Government of India schemes such as issue of ‘soil-water health cards’ for the aquafarmers will also be addressed by CIBA and KCT Group Trust.
Speaking about CDC-LLR lab and the ICAR-CIBA’s strategic alliance with KCT Group Trust, Dr. K. K. Vijayan said, “The aqua farming industry in our country has need of technology support to ensure the seed quality, pond and animal health, available in their farming area. This CDC-LLR lab is a novel initiative in the right direction, and will go a long way in empowering the aqua farmers and brining about sustainable aquaculture development in the region. We are happy to be partnering with KCT Group Trust, part of a premier corporate group, who is also the promoter of The Waterbase Limited in India. Under this partnership, we are looking at improving the technical skills and awareness of the aqua farmers through capacity building programmes like health camps, training programmes, group discussions and interface programmes on a participatory basis.”
The CDC-LLR lab jointly with CIBA will support and empower small aqua farmers in their operations by providing quality laboratory testing at affordable cost, and also address capacity building. The lab also aims to extend knowledge and economic empowerment to aqua farming families, and also to attract students and local youth to the aquaculture sector, to achieve societal development goals.
“CDC-LLR is KCT Group Trust’s first flagship project. We offer a range of services to farmers, such as a state of the art laboratory facility at a subsidised cost, training modules and interactive sessions with industry professionals, thereby improving the quality of lives of the farmers, their families and the local community at large. Monthly training sessions are conducted for aquaculture farmers to educate them on good farming practices, disease management and international farming trends and patterns. A mega event is held annually where both international and Indian aquaculture specialists and industry experts are invited to speak followed by an interactive session with the farmers,” adds Ms. Shomasree Dey.
The first CDC-LLR laboratory was set up in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh in 2016. Farmers from over 70 villages in Nellore district and from neighbouring districts have access to the laboratory. The lab offers the advanced Bio and analytical test and Realtime Polymerase Chain Reaction (RTPCR) tests at subsidised rates.
The CDC-LLR laboratory also collates and studies data for research, to help understand aquaculture industry trends and patterns. The CDC-LLR team also organises farmers meetings to educate them on better aquaculture farming practices, international trends in brackishwater aquaculture and diseases. In 2017, CDC-LLR conducted farmer meetings in 14 villages in Nellore district, over 700 farmers have attended these farmer meetings. Once a year, international and local experts are invited to speak to the farmers about global practices and trends in aqua farming. In 2017 three events were organized in Nellore, Bhimavarm and Surat.
The Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIBA), Chennai, a national institute under the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), has been in the forefront of developing sustainable brackishwater aquaculture technologies in the country, for production of valuable seafood. The focus has been on the technology backstopping in the areas of diversification of brackishwater aquaculture with shellfish and finfish species and developing indigenous technologies, especially on the production of quality seed, feed, aquatic health and farm management.
Date: May 25, 2018