Need to increase domestic consumption and exports of fish, says Fisheries Minister

India is the second largest fish producer in the world with a production of 14.16 million tonnes during 2019-20.
Image used for representation purposes only( Photo | EPS)
Image used for representation purposes only( Photo | EPS)

NEW DELHI: Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister Parshottam Rupala on Friday stressed on the need to boost fish production in the country and called for increasing domestic consumption along with exports.

India is the second largest fish producer in the world with a production of 14.16 million tonnes during 2019-20. Addressing a CII conference, Rupala said there is a great need for technology and innovations in the fisheries sector. He said the technologies can help in increasing the production of fish.

The minister also emphasised on creation of post-harvest infrastructure and value addition in the fisheries sector to reduce wastage. Rupala said there was a need to focus on increasing domestic consumption of fish by creating demand for frozen fish.

L Murugan, minister of state for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, said the government in the last seven years has been focusing a lot on the growth of this important sector and boosting fishermen's income.

Jatindra Nath Swain, secretary - fisheries, Department of Fisheries, highlighted that the fisheries segment provides nutritional security to people. He said fish production has grown to 14.2 million tonnes in 2019-20 from around 4 million tonnes in 1991-92. The government is targeting to increase fish production to 22 million tonnes in the next 4-5 years, he added.

The secretary stressed on ensuring a steady supply of quality fish as both domestic and global markets are becoming quality conscious. Swain also asked the industry to ensure that antibiotics are used in a controlled manner.

The secretary highlighted that the government has launched a Rs 20,050 crore 'Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana', comprising central share of around Rs 9,400 crore, state share of nearly Rs 5,000 crore and beneficiaries contribution of over Rs 5,000 crore.

The scheme will be implemented over a period of five years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all states/Union Territories. Swain pitched for increasing the private sector investment in the fishery sector.

The secretary said there was a need to look at domestic market consumption by creating awareness that "frozen fish is as good as fresh fish". He also spoke on creating demand for seaweeds, which can be used as animal feed.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, National Fisheries Development Board and the Marine Products Export Development Authority organised a conference on fisheries and aquaculture with the aim of "Showcasing India as a hub for Aquaculture and fisheries Investment".

According to a CII statement, the sector has shown an impressive growth with fish production registering an average annual growth of 7.53 per cent during the last five years.

Rajnikant Rai, Chief Executive, Agri Businesses Division, ITC Limited, said 74 per cent of India's fisheries export is shrimp, "however the share of value added products is low at 7%. Thus, there is a huge scope to increase value added exports and in tandem increase price points for fishermen.

" Arabind Das, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, stated that "CII with its National Committee on Fisheries is committed to work along with the government and various agencies to achieve the vision setup for the sector; and will work towards positioning India as an investment destination and export leader for marine products.

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