AQUACULTURE IN UNCERTAIN ENVIRONMENT: A COOPERATIVE’S SUSTAINABLE BLEND OF COMMERCE AND ECOLOGYBiswajit Debnath, R.S. Biradar, S.K. Datta, Ananthan P.S. and Pravin R. Patil
Mudialy FishermenÂ’s Cooperative Society (MFCS), a cooperative society in Kolkata (West Bengal, India) is a successful and sustainable aqua-business model in India. MFCS has developed a sewage fed fish production system (80 ha) in an environmentally and socially uncertain wetland area leased from Kolkata Port Trust (KPT). The study, by applying Resource Cost Ratio (RCR) approach, discusses resource use efficiency alongside the social profitability of this system. The RCR value of MFCS was found to be 0.56 (2003-04), which means 0.56 unit worth of non-marketable resources is spent to produce one unit worth of marketable output. Sensitivity analysis was carried out to find out the impact of critical parameters namely welfare activities, the CEO salary (a free input from government), and the quantification of some intangible benefits. RCR became 0.63 when the welfare activities were excluded and 0.65 when CEO salary was assumed to increase by 300 percent, indicating profitability even under conservative scenarios. An attempt to quantify some of the ecological benefits of MFCS production system, estimated economic values were assigned to sewage treatment, absorption of CO2 and water use values. RCR value became negative (- 0.46) when these intangible outputs were considered, indicating the profitability through nonmarketable route in addition to profitability through marketable route. MFCS activities demonstrate the versatility and enormous productivity of wetlands in the Indo-Gangetic plains, which, when managed by the most intimate society members with sustainable technology, is capable of producing better results for the society than what a simple market solution can offer.
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