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Model Bankable Projects



Prawn Culture

1. Introduction

Indian aquaculture has been evolving from the level of susbsistence activity to that of an industry. This transformation has been made possible with the development and standardization of many new production and associated techniques of input and output subsystems. In recent years aquaculture has created great enthusiasm and interest among entrepreneurs especially for shrimp farming in coastal areas. Shrimp farming is capital intensive activity and uncontrolled mushrooming growth of it has led to outbreak of diseases and attributed environmental issues calling for closure of shrimp farms.

Although India has vast freshwater resources they are not fully exploited except for carp culture in limited scale. Fresh water fish culture employing composite fish culture technology has become popular for use in large number of tanks and ponds in the country. To meet the raw material required by the processing units for export demand there is urgent need to expand our production base. In addition it is always stressed that there is a need to utilise our natural resources productively to ensure the much needed food security.

2. Scope for Fresh Water Prawn Culture

Considering the high export potential, the giant fresh water prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, the scampi, enjoys immense potential for culture in India. About 4 million ha. of impounded freshwater bodies in the various states of India, offer great potential for fresh water prawn culture. Scampi can be cultivated for export through monoculture in existing as well as new ponds or with compatible freshwater fishes in existing ponds. It is exported to EEC countries and USA. Since the world market for scampi is expanding with attractive prices, there is great scope for scampi production and export.

3. Technical Parameters

The giant freshwater prawn is suitable for cultivation in tropical and subtropical climates. It is a hardy species by virtue of its ability to adapt to various types of fresh and brackish-water conditions. It accepts pelleted feed and has omnivorous feeding habit. In the natural enviroment, lower reaches of rivers, tidal inlets, where water is directly or indirectly connected with sea are their preferred habitat specially during spawning. The breeding takes place in low saline waters which is also needed for larval and post larval development after incubation. Breeding of M.rosenbergii takes place in estuaries.

Though seed may be available in natural sources to a limited extent, for large scale culture there is a need to ensure regular supply of seed. For ensuring availability of quality seed in predictable quantity freshwater prawn hatcheries should be encouraged, technology for which is already developed. Freshwater prawn hatcheries are coming up in many states.

The techno-economic parameters required for establishment of prawn farm and its successful operation are briefly described in this booklet. The parameters are averaged out and the costs are only illustrative.

3.1. Site selection

The site selection plays an important role as the entire management aspect of the farm ultimately depends on specific conditions of the site. The aspects to be considered are topography of the area, soil type, availability of quality water etc.. The area should be free from pollution and flooding. Other considerations like approach roads etc. have also to be taken into account.

3.2 Soil quality

The ideal soil for Macrobrachium culture should be clay silt mixture or sandy loam comprising of 60% sand and 40% silt with good water retention capacity.

3.3. Water quality

There should be availability of abundant and good quality water.The water should be free from any kind of pollution. The pH should be maintained at 7 to 8.5. The temperature should range from 18 0 to 340C with an optimum range of 270 C to 310 C. Dissolved oxygen content should be higher than 75% saturation.

3.4 Pond construction

Rectangular ponds are suitable mainly from the harvesting point of view. A convenient width is 30-50 m, whereas length of the pond depends on site, topography and farm layout. Normally a size of 0.5 to 1.5 ha is found suitable. The average depth of the ponds should be 0.9m with a minimum of 0.75m and a maximum of 1.2m. Dike and pond slope may be kept at 2:1. Bund must have a freeboard of at least 60 cm above the highest water level in the pond. Designing and layout of the farms may be done keeping in view the water intake and water outlet facilities. The drainage system should be designed carefully to prevent mixing of outlet water with incoming water.

3.5. Water supply and drainage

Appropriate water supply and drainage systems have to be designed keeping in view the water source and topography of the area. Tubewell and pumping system may be considered if required for water intake/exchange. Water exchange on weekly or fortnightly basis as required is desirable and provisions are to be made accordingly.

4. Farm Management

The type of pond preparation to be adopted before stocking is based on the type of culture and its intensity and nature of the culture pond. Liming of the pond assumes great importance here than in the case of freshwater fish culture. The application of fertilisers is restricted in case pelletised feed is used. However, occasionally cow dung, single super phosphate, urea etc. can be applied on assessing the productivity.

The stocking density normally varies from 4000 to 50000 nos. of post larvae per ha depending on the type and intensity of the management practices. The culture system may be monoculture or polyculture with carps. In case of polyculture with carps the more pond depth is preferred at 4-5 feet. In case of polyculture the stocking density of prawn may vary from 2500-20000 post larvae. The carp fingerlings may be of the order of 5000 - 2500 Nos. Nursery may be incorporated where the post larvae obtained from hatcheries could be reared for a period of 4-5 weeks till they attain 40-50 mm or 1-3 gram.

In order to get desired production, feeding, aeration, water exchange, periodic monitoring should be continued. The quality and type of feed is based on culture system. Macrobrachium with its omnivorous feeding habits can make use of a variety of feeds from common wet feed made from rice bran and oil cake to scientifically formulated pelleted feed. The rate of feeding is determined by the stage of growth of prawn, water quality, density of stock and other manuring practices. Generally the feeding rate my be 5% of the body weight.

The duration of culture varies from 6 to 12 months depending on the type of culture practice. Generally in monoculture the culture period may be 6-8 months under monoculture and 8-12 months under polyculture. The average growth of prawn may range from 50 gms to 200 gms depending on the duration, density, water quality, feeding etc. The survival rate may range 50% to 70% depending on the type of management practices.

5. Extension services

The borrower should have experience in prawn farming and should be conversant with production technology, trade etc. Fish Farmers Development Agencies (FFDA) have been established in almost all districts for providing necessary training. The offices of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in most of the coastal states also provide necessary assistance.

6. Marketing

There is good demand for fresh water prawn in both local and international markets, as such there may not be any problem in marketing the same. Fresh water prawns can be sold directly by the farmers either in the market or to exporters for processing before export.

7. Financial outlay

Details for the financial outlay have been indicated in Annexure I. It can be seen therefrom that the capital cost for a 1 ha. unit has been estimated as Rs. 2.075 lakh while the operational cost for one crop works out to Rs.1.214 lakh. The items and cost indicated under the model are indicative and not exhaustive. While preparing projects for financial assistance the costs have to be assessed taking into account actual field conditions.

8. Margin money and bank loan

The entrepreneur is expected to bring margin money out of his own resources. The rates of margin money stipulated are 5% for smaller farmer, 10% for medium farmer and 15% for other farmers. For corporate borrowers the margin stipulated is 25%. NABARD could consider providing margin money loan assistance in deserving cases.

9. Rate of Refinance

NABARD provides refinance assistance for freshwater prawn farming to commercial banks, cooperative banks and Regional Rural Banks. The rate of refinance is fixed by NABARD from time to time.

10. Financial viability

The following assumptions have been made for working out the financial viability of the project.

Farm size 1 ha.
Culture period 6-8 months
Stocking density 30,000 /ha


Feed conversion ratio 2.5:1
Expected production 1260 kg/ha/crop
Only one crop of 6-8 months culture period has been considered
Sale price of prawn has been taken as Rs. 170 per kg.
The financial analysis has been shown in Annexure I.
The results of analysis are:  
i) NPW at 15% Discounting = Rs. 2.33 lakhs
ii) BCR at 15% Discounting = 1.37:1  
iii) IRR = 77%  

11. Rate of interest

Interest rate to be charged would be as indicated by bank/RBI/NABARD from time to time.


12. Repayment period

The borrower will be able to repay the bank loan in 8 years (Annex -I) with a grace period of one year on repayment of the principal.

13. Security

Security from the ultimate beneficiaries may be obtained as per the guidelines of RBI issued from time to time.

Annexure - I



A. Capital Cost

  Units Quantum Rate (Rs.) Total
Construction of pond including digging, bund construction and compaction and consolidtion Cum 7500 15 112500
Shallow tubewell and pumpset 5 HP Nos   L/s 35,000
Pump house cum store room-AC roof     L/s 20,000
Inlet/outlet sluices       10,000
Nets and other implements     L/s 10,000
Aerator Nos 1 15,000 15,000
Miscellaneous including laying of pipe line etc.     L/s 5,000
Total A       207,500

B. Operational cost for one crop (6-8 months)

  Units Quantum Rate (Rs.) Total
Lime Kg 300 5 1,500
In organic fertiliser (super phosphate) kg 75 5 375
Fertiliser - Organic-Cow Dung tons 2 300 600
Seed Nos 30,000 0.6 18,000
Feed-pelletted feed Kgs 3,150 20 63,000
Pumping and aeration charges     L/s 10,000
Watch and Ward Mandays 240 40 9,600
Miscellaneous including insurance, harvesting and medicine etc. L/s     5000
Total B       108,075
Total Cost        315,575

Annexure -I(Contd.)


C. Production

Survival(%) 60%
Average weight at harvest (gms) 70
Total production (Kg) 1,260
Farm gate price (Rs.) 170
Number of Crops per annum 1
Income during 1st year (85% of total production) 1,82,070
Income from 2nd year onwards 214,200

D. Financial Analysis

Capital cost 207,500            
Recurring cost 108,075 108,075 108,075 108,075 108,075 108,075 108,075
Total cost 315,575 108,075 108,075 108,075 108,075 108,075 108,075
Income 182,070 214,200 214,200 214,200 214,200 214,200 214,200
New benefit -133,505 106,125 106,125 106,125 106,125 106,125 106,125
NPW of cost 630,072            
NPW of benefit 863,222            
NPW 233,150            
BCR 1.37            
IRR 77%            
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