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Sustainable tech to boost fish production, forex: NITI Aayog

Seafood export revenue stood at Rs 63,969 crore in 2022-23 with shrimp exports alone accounting for Rs 43,135 crore

Sustainable tech to boost fish production, forex: NITI Aayog

Visakhapatnam: NITI Aayog has called for sustainable technologies and environmental-friendly measures to boost fish production in the coastal areas of India to earn more forex and create job opportunities.

The programme assumes significance in the backdrop of doubling of seafood exports in the past nine years with export revenue of Rs 63,969 crore in 2022-23 with shrimp exports alone accounting for Rs 43,135 crore.

Experts from all India took part in the soul-searching deliberations at the programme which concluded here on Friday with active participation from Niti Aayog officials and advisors. Andhra Pradesh Government partnered with Niti Aayog in conducting the programme on harnessing potential of fisheries in inland States. The plan panel has selected Visakhapatnam along with Mumbai, Varanasi and Surat for its growth city initiative. The meeting called for multi-pronged approaches and transformational changes/reforms to derive better benefits.

The key stakeholders from the Central and State Governments, research institutions, industry representatives, Fish Farmers’ Producers’ Organisations (FFPOs), and cooperatives and startups are participating in the workshop. “The discussions were lively and meaningful,” Joint Director of Fisheries Lal Mohammad, told Bizz Buzz.

The two-day workshop brought together key stakeholders from Central and State Governments, researchers, industry representatives and practitioners to deliberate upon critical aspects of realising India’s vast inland fisheries potential across domains of sustainability, market linkages and addressing ground challenges.

The technical sessions of the workshop focused on pressing issues like sustainability practices, export competitiveness, infrastructure gaps and livelihood challenges facing India’s marine fishing industry across States. Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana and other States participated in the deliberations and highlighted their status, challenges and best practices.

Senior Executive Director of National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) Dr L Narasimha Murthy, speaking on ‘policies for addressing the issues and challenges in inland fisheries,’ stated that while the policies and challenges are a continuous process, the government takes stock of the issues periodically to find out solutions. He said there is huge potential to increase forex through coastal and back water aquaculture production. He said the farmers should be sensitised on adopting best practices.

He said the government is granting Rs 2 crore to each climate resilient coastal village to adopt best practices by spending 70 per cent on infrastructure and the remaining incentives. Issues like using solar dryers and eco-friendly packaging material should be popularised. He said there is a plan to offer crop insurance of Rs 25,000 per hectare to aquaculture farmers.

Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala, at the inaugural, provided valuable insights on the national vision for the advancement of the sector and suggested on exim policy for animal and fish feed, policy for leasing of reservoir and water bodies across India, protection of traditional fisherman, upgradation of markets, skill development for fishermen and sustainable fishing methods.

On the concluding day, Jyothi Pilla of Igloo Frozen Foods Pvt Ltd spoke on export potential and challenges, Nissar F Momhammed, managing committee member of Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Association (CLFMA) gave a presentation on challenges of the fish feed industry. On day-one, Dr Neelam Patel, Senior Advisor (Agriculture), Niti Aayog, while setting the context for the workshop, highlighted Niti Aayog’s role in State collaboration towards Viksit Bharat 2047. Vaddi Raghuram, Co-Vice Chairman, AP State Aqua Development Authority, G V L Narasimha Rao, Rajya Sabha MP, Prof Ramesh Chand, Member, Niti Aayog, spoke.

Santosh Patnaik
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