Family Fisheries Boost Income in a Rural Indian Village

Jatapara is a tiny village in the hard-rock terrain of northeastern India’s Jharkhand State, Dumka District, where wooded hillocks ripple through valleys and over ridges before they swell into mountains. 

But that verdant landscape, stunning to behold, is anathema to successful agriculture, for though rivers abound, their acidity, low retention factor and erosive power spoil the soil, robbing it of fertility.

So it is easy to understand why, in an environment so hostile to agriculture, the 60 or so families of the Santhal tribe for whom Jatapara is home struggle to sustain themselves. Jharkhand has even been formally recognized for its ravaging poverty by the Indian government, which lists the state among the country's top 15 “most backward districts.” 

Further, the Santhal is a Scheduled Tribe (ST), the government’s formal designation given to groups that are historically disadvantaged. Exacerbating the problem is an endemic lack of education - education which is often mysterious to uneducated parents who cannot afford the costs of schooling in any way, thus limiting in-school time among their children to less than an elementary education.

All of this to say that identifying viable means of making a living for the people of Jatapara is a challenge, but with the establishment of a relationship with GHNI and introduction of the Transformational Community Development (TCD) program, the hidden and hurting lives in Jatapara are being lifted into hope and possibility.

Enter fish farming.

The development of an aquaculture micro-business can ratchet the improvement of both the physical and financial health of the residents of Jatapara. It achieves this first by increasing the availability of a protein-rich food to the undernourished families of fishers. Second, fishers can sell surplus catch among neighbors. Third, they can become vendors to neighboring villages.

As with all TCD income-producing projects, the success of fish farming is determined by its sustainability. Therefore, TCD teaches responsible techniques to safeguard human health and the environment while considering Santhal culture.

And the work of strong men with hard arms making a widespread throw of a well-tied net is paying off: “We cultivated 1,000 fish last month, and now they have grown bigger,” says Manu, a GHNI TCD worker guiding the fishing entrepreneurs of Jatapara Village. “To encourage villagers, we did some fishing and sold the fish in that same village and nearby villages.”

Give a man a fish, he has a meal; teach him to grow fish, he has a business.

Please join Jatapara villagers as they work toward a sustainable future for their children. By providing a micro-loan, they can begin family businesses, like fishing, and then pay back the loan to be given to a neighboring family in need.