Mussels farming helps flood-hit Kerala village

Mussels farming helps flood-hit Kerala village
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Kochi: Farmers, mostly women, of a Kerala village hit by last year's devastating floods have started re-building their lives by adopting scientific farming of mussels.

Officials said farmers in Moothakunnam in Ernakulam district have had a bumper harvest of mussels under the guidance of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) - an institute under the Union Agriculture Ministry.

Mussels are small, edible sea animals that has a dark shell with two parts that close tightly together.

Moothakunnam, a village near Aluva, was one of the worst hit villages in the Kerala floods in August last year.

Five self-help groups in the region have reaped a total yield of 6.5 tonnes of mussels in as many as five farming units, CMFRI officials said.

The farmers, whose oyster units were destroyed in the deluge, turned to mussel farming in January this year as an additional livelihood option.

The farming that lasted five months was carried out under the guidance of the Molluscan Fisheries Division of the CMFRI, a CMFRI release said here.

According to officials, as there is no need for feeding, the bivalve farming is less expensive compared to fish farming. However, the initial capital to set up the farming units is the major expense.

CMFRI said depurated mussel meat from the farms are now available for sale in the CMFRI.

A 250-g packet costs Rs 175, officials said.

Mussels are rich in protein, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals (calcium, iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus) and vitamins.

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