KOCHI: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that Kerala was the ideal place in the country to start the ‘Blue Revolution’ as it has a great potential for marine and inland fisheries. He was speaking after inaugurating the Global Agro Meet at the Adlux Convention Centre at Karukutty near Angamaly on Thursday.
He said that about 15-20 per cent of fish are lost due to damage during transportation and handling, which needs to be checked by adopting effective post-harvest transport and management practices. he minister also called for increased private partnership in developing post-harvest management and processing facilities for horticulture produce. The Blue Revolution envisages transformation of the fisheries sector. The Central Government has appointed a committee headed by B Meenakumari to review India’s marine fisheries policy.
“The panel has submitted its report, which is currently open for discussion. All the stakeholders in the sector should come forward with their opinions and suggestions on the report. There will be a supplementary budget for the fisheries sector before the announcement of the Union Budget and projects, to attract youngsters to the sector,” the minister said.
“There is an urgent need to adopt techniques that reduce post-harvest losses, add value and improve quality of the products, while making them available to the common man at reasonable prices. About 40 per cent total agriculture produce is being wasted. With consistent efforts from the government, and the active participation of farmers in adopting innovative technologies, it has been possible to sustain agriculture production over the years. Kerala has made a significant progress in horticulture production, which increased to 10.33 million tonnes in 2012-13, after the National Horticulture Mission was launched in the State in 2005-06.
During the 12th Plan, the State got `444.03 crore from the Centre for the development of horticulture,” the minister said. He urged the State to create sound processing facilities for fruits like pineapple and enhance the production of crops like pepper, cashew and coconut, to be competitive in the export market. He said the functioning of farmers’ cooperative societies should be strengthened in the State, in view of the small landholdings. “Mechanised farming should be taken up at the cooperative level for stabilisation and augmentation of produce. The duration of the Kuttanad Package, which expired two years ago, has not been extended. Now, it is not possible to extend the period of the package. “But, the State can augment the unused money from the Central Government schemes to carry forward the works under the Kuttanad Package,” he added.