When innovation marries traditional sectors, amazing products are the result. The Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation (KSCADC) is in such a relationship. Soon, sweets, desserts and snacks made of small pelagic fish like sardine, mackerel and anchovies will hit the market.
The products will be sold under the brand name Fishmaid. “Micro-enterprises were initiated for producing the fish-based innovative value-added products initially by women from coastal areas.
The units are in Ernakulam, Palakkad and Kollam districts. The products will be sold in outlets in the respective districts and through Kerala Tourism Development Corporation restaurants.
Along with this, products will also be promoted through melas, exhibitions and trial marketing at different locations,” an official release from the KSCADC has stated.
Currently, the production capacity of a micro- production unit is around 0.75-1 tonnes per month.
The KSCADC plans for the state-level commercial production of Fishmaid through a number of micro- production units in the coastal villages and marketing through 100 signature outlets.
The production of these value- added products has been initiated by the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The World Bank- assisted mega transformation-oriented programme under the NAIP has also offered help for the project.
Fish varieties like mackerels, anchovies and sardines are widely accepted as highly nutritious, but they could not find a decent market because of their small size and presence of excess bones. Owing to this, the fisherfolks in the state were facing difficulties in selling their fish and earning a decent livelihood.
The fisherfolk also noted that the nutritious characteristics of these varieties of fish were not properly highlighted.
The NAIP suggested the food processing route to get rid of the problems being faced by the large number of poor fishermen in Kerala since the food processing industry has huge potential for uplifting agriculture and related economy. It was decided to make sincere extra efforts because of the presence of fish-based products being scanty.
Hence, a suitable food processing technology was developed to convert the highly nutritious small pelagic fish into sweets desserts and snacks like dishes and get them marketed.
It would go a long way in changing the lot of the poor fishers with creation of new opportunities in fisheries, employment generation especially for women, better value for low-priced fish, better income for fishermen and maximum utilisation of the small fish, including Omega-3 rich marine small, pelagic and freshwater fish.
It will create new opportunities in fisheries, generate employment for women, give better value for low-priced fishes and better income for fishermen.
The new fish products have great potential in the domestic and export markets too,” said the KSCADC sources.