GFAR blog

YAP proposal #409: Production of ‘Water Chicken’ by Rural Poor for Food and Cash (Gnanapragasam Krishanthan, Sri Lanka)



I’m Gnanapragasam Krishanthan, an agriculture graduate with the specialization in aquaculture. I’m 33 and I live in kilinochchi district a core part in Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Currently working with war-affected resettled rural communities including farmers, fishermen, and youth to uplift their livelihoods through reasonable livelihood practices.

This particular project plans to promote the income and nutritional status of the rural inland fishermen. Fish fingerlings (about 5 cm in length) of Tilapia species also known water/aquatic chicken will be continuously produced and stocked in the seasonal tanks. For this purpose a community owned mini fish fingerling production centre will be established and the target fishermen community will be trained to look after, manage and harvest the product in a sustainable way.

Freshwater fish constitute the major source of animal protein for poor people and of the major livelihood activity. In fact fish catch from seasonal tanks accounts for only about 2% of the total inland fish production in the country. Therefore, it is very clear that inland fish production potential of the available water resources in the province is not fully utilized.

These seasonal tanks hold water for about 6–10 months but completely become dry during the drought period, which is the ideal period to harvest.

During the drought period tank soil becomes enriched with dung of grazing animals and when get filled with water during rainy periods becomes an ideal planktonic medium for fish culture. But the seasonal tanks have to be regularly socked with fish fingerlings. Since seasonal tanks have to be continuously stocked with fingerlings the major constraint in developing the seasonal tank based culture fishery is the shortage of fingerlings.

Mini fingerling production center with all the necessary infrastructure facilities are available in one of the rural area in Kilinochchi district, but that was abundant during war period.

Now almost seven years after the war was over this centre remains nonfunctional due to lack of startup capital. Therefore it is planned to utilize this existing resource to produce fish fingerlings from good quality parent fish and restock them in the seasonal tanks.

Once fishes reaches the marketable size fishermen will harvest and utilize them for family consumption and marketing. A part payment from each kilogram of harvest will be saved and utilized as operational capital for the following cycle.

Proposed activities

Step 1: Stakeholder meeting and conducting project awareness building programmes

Step 2: Capacity building of tank based community members to manage culture fisheries

Step 3: Production of fry from parents stock (small fish of 1.25 cm in length)

Step 4: Fry to fingerling production (5 cm in length) and conducting restocking programmes

Step 5: Harvesting and marketing of adult fish

Step 6: Saving and continuation of the cycle

There are several factors already commenced for the success of the project such as tank-based fishermen community already formed and trained on various aspects. The abundant infrastructure facility for fingerling production can be utilized and the permission to start up the aforementioned project is already received.

Increased amount of fish catch, increase in income and at least 25% increases in fish consumption are the expected success factor of this project. Success factor will be measured from the fishermen community records, Production records by the centre, Updated baseline report and house hold cash book


Budget and timeframe of the project

Capacity building of tank based community (trainings, exposure visits), USD 800 (first two months)

Fry (1.25 cm length fish) production cost, USD 1,50$ (from 3rd month onwards)

Feeding and operational cost, USD 1,500 (from 3rd month onwards)

Purchasing of fishing gears (nets, floats, ropes etc), USD 400 (in 2nd month of the project)

Fingerling transport cost (oxygen, cylinders, polythene bags, etc), USD 300 (in 2nd month of the project)

Administrative cost USD 500 (for the whole project period)

Note: The dates will be utilized for the postgraduate research studies for the livelihood analysis studies in the year of 2017 that I planned to do.


Blogpost and picture submitted by Gnanapragasam Krishanthan (Sri Lanka):[at]

The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #409 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

9 thoughts on “YAP proposal #409: Production of ‘Water Chicken’ by Rural Poor for Food and Cash (Gnanapragasam Krishanthan, Sri Lanka)”

  1. Well done Mr.Kirishanthan. definitely it will support to the Fishermen and Farmers to uplift their livelihood .

  2. Income and nutritional status of the rural people are very much lower and they seeks several assistance from many organization’s..

  3. Nothern part of Sri Lanka severely affected by war for a long time.. A project like these will atleast uplift their status in a small way ..good work

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