albeit not all elements are affected equally. Since 21% of Odisha’s landmass is flood-prone, inland freshwater farming in some portions of the mainland and coastal peripheral areas are particularly vulnerable to severe inundation. Farming systems located in the western and southwestern parts of Odisha often encounters water scarcity due to prolonged summer. Meanwhile, over-dependence on a single or specific species in aquaculture is one of the major constraints that has frequently resulted in production failure by aggregating risks for farmers. Therefore, species diversification through the incorporation of hardy and stress-tolerant fish varieties into the existing aquaculture system is a climate-smart solution in the current altered scenarios. For integrated development in the fisheries sector and fish farmers, the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department (FARD), the government of Odisha in collaboration with WorldFish has introduced genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) and Amur common carp throughout Odisha intending to diversify farm income, improve nutrition, and increasing resilience among small-scale farmers. GIFT is a genetically improved variety of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) developed by WorldFish and its partners through long-term research and a selective breeding program intending to develop a faster-growing strain suitable for both small-scale and commercial aquaculture. Amur common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a genetically improved strain of wild common carp of Hungarian origin developed by the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University, India. GIFT and Amur common carp can be considered champion species in the light of the climate-smart farming approach. Both are the most accommodating species, able to withstand a wide range of temperature and salinity conditions. GIFT and Amur common carp can thrive in a variety of harsh environments (e.g., low dissolved oxygen, turbid water, etc.) disease resistance, and omnivorous feed habits.
As part of the centered intervention, 712,315 monosex GIFT tilapia fry were developed from a prototype GIFT hatchery at the Kausalyaganga government fish seed farm between January 2020 and March 2021, and sold to farmers from various districts in Odisha and other states across the country. The government is converting the prototype GIFT hatchery into a cutting-edge GIFT tilapia hatchery with a production capacity of 5 million seeds annually in order to meet increased demand. The FARD department is also expanding Amur common carp culture and already raised 2000 nos. of broodstocks in 2019?20. After April 2020, seed production began in all government fish seed farms, with a total of 178,000 spawns produced and sold to Odisha farmers. This strategy will have a significant impact on the purchasing and consumption patterns of poor and lower-middle-class families at the bottom of the market pyramid. These fishes are cheap sources of animal protein and high in vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. In addition to providing income and job opportunities, it is vital for food security and healthy nutrition. Further, it could also be conceived as a possible climate-resilient adaptation plan for climatically vulnerable regions. From a sustainability standpoint, high-input monoculture must be shifted towards a low-input polyculture system with diverse resilient species. This form of farming reduces climate change susceptibility and improves feed utilization, water quality, total production, and profit. GIFT and Amur common carp are the most compatible and can be co-cultured with other fish in polyculture systems.