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Dhaka     Wednesday   22 September 2021

Haloishar: The model fishing village of Naria

Asaduzzaman Rassel || risingbd.com

Published: 11:43, 28 July 2021  
Haloishar: The model fishing village of Naria

Imagine the pictures of a village a decade ago - rugged paths, horizon, crop fields, mundane houses, settlement of huts on the banks of the river, solemn darkness of the evening and fishermen suffering from abject miseries.

These things used to define the fishing village of Haloishar of Gharisar union under Naria upazila of Shariatpur district.

But now, if you go to that fishing village, you will not find any trace of the afore-mentioned signs as the scenario of the village has transmogrified for something better owing to various development initiatives by the government and the non-governmental organizations in the last few years.

Recently, the government has declared this fishing village as an ideal village. The village has now become a town because of the implementation of integrated development programs by the Department of Fisheries and various government agencies. Almost all the amenities of modern urban life are now available in this village.

USAID-funded ECOFISH-II activity, jointly implemented by the Department of Fisheries and WorldFish Bangladesh, has played a key role in the implementation of this model fishing village.

The program has been taken under the activities by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock on the occasion of Mujib Year celebrations. As a part of the special program 'My Village, My City', the government has established this ‘Model Fishers’ Village’.

Under this program, a plan has been taken to create employment opportunities and improve the quality of life of the fishers living in Haloishar village by expanding various facilities including infrastructure development, fish farming, agro-based industries, agricultural mechanization, agricultural diversification and market management.

The Department of Fisheries is implementing extensive activities in the village. Notable among these are implementation of scientific fish farming activities in all ponds of the village and taking measures to meet the nutritional needs, formation of fish farmers’ teams, training and package-based fish farming exhibitions, fishermen team formation, providing training and alternative employment and loan assistance, empowerment of women through reforms and establishment of fish sanctuaries and formation of community savings groups.

Besides, some more activities are being implemented in the village with the help of other government departments. These include installation of deep tube wells and hygienic latrines, construction of roads suitable for vehicular traffic, tree planting, treatment of beneficiaries, poultry and cattle and ensuring 100% education for the children of the villagers.

Since 2015, under the ECOFISH-II project several initiatives have been taken to ensure food and nutrition security, create alternative income-generating opportunities and increase social and environmental resilience for the fishers of this village. As part of the program, fishers received poultry, goats, cows and vegetable seeds. They were also trained in modern methods of fish farming and loan facilities for fisher women were facilitated.

In addition, community fishing guards have been formed with fishermen. They have been cooperating with the law enforcement agencies and the administration to co-management activities and work for conservation of Jatka and brood Hilsa, guarding the sanctuary. Identity cards, trousers, towels, umbrellas, aprons, shoes, flashlights have been provided for the convenience of performing their duties.

Dadan Sardar, a fisherman of Haloishar, said, “We have benefited a lot from the ECOFISH project. Various awareness-raising activities and livelihood support from the project have changed our life. We are proud to be residents of this model village.”

Haloishar, once a general fishers’ village, is now a model village, and all the development activities and achievements achieved in this village should be replicated in other villages, opined Naria Upazila Fisheries Officer Mohammad Aminul Haque.
Asaduzzaman Rassel is a Communications Specialist at the WorldFish Bangladesh