‘Take steps to attract FDI into Marine Products sector’
Kochi: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan inaugurated the 22nd India International Seafood Show (IISS) held in Kochi recently. He called for efforts to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into the sector for increasing employment opportunities and boosting the country’s seafood exports through an innovative model based on diversification and value addition.
The India International Seafood Show held in Kochi after a gap of 12 years saw the participation of over 1,500 delegates, 50 of them from 12 foreign countries
Delivering his inaugural address at the three-day showpiece event of the marine industry, Khan expressed confidence that India would be able to increase its share in global seafood trade from the present 4.1 per cent to 6.7 per cent by 2030 by increasing production, value addition and diversification.
‘Blue evolution: Beyond production to value addition’ was the focal theme of the biennial event jointly organised by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), the nodal agency of Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and the Seafood Export Association of India (SEAI).
Highlighting the importance of seafood, the Governor pointed out that 40 per cent of the global population live within 200 km of seacoasts and 12 of the 15 mega cities are situated along the coast. In India alone, about 40.5 million people are involved in the fisheries sector, which also contributed one per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP), he noted.
Billed as one of Asia’s largest seafood fairs, the IISS was held in Kochi after a gap of 12 years. Over 1,500 delegates, 50 of them from 12 foreign countries, participated in the event and deliberated on policies and actionable roadmaps to achieve the country’s marine products export target of $10 billion by 2022.
Among others who addressed the inaugural function were K S Srinivas IAS, Chairman, MPEDA; Leena Nair IAS, former Chairman MPEDA; Dr. Christy Fernandez IAS (Retd.), Chairman, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and Jagdish V Fofandi, National President, SEAI.
Welcoming the delegates, Srinivas spoke of a three-pronged strategy to promote the sector: increase productivity, expand area under cultivation and go for diversification of species. An increase in productivity from the present five metric tonnes per hectare to 10 metric tonnes is desired. A vision document in this regard has been submitted to the government, he pointed out.
Speaking on the occasion, Fofandi said the sector was hit this year by natural calamities, particularly the primary producers in aquaculture.
On the occasion, MPEDA launched an online certification scheme, ‘Shaphari’, for the farmers to ensure quality produce, bereft of antibiotics which hindered exports.
Fernandez, in his presidential address, said the traditional markets are going down, giving way to new markets due to change in the consumers’ preference. Innovation, investment and integration would be the way out to overcome the hurdles, he said.
‘Centre will Help Seafood Sector EXPORTS’
The Central Government will help the seafood sector in all possible ways to make India the number one exporter by working together with all stakeholders, including the State Governments and the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), according to Som Parkash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry.
Addressing the India International Seafood Show, Parkash said there was an urgent need to make India the prime producer of seafood, going up from the fourth position it was occupying now.
Acknowledging that the sector is facing a host of problems in meeting the production and export targets without compromising on quality and environment, he said the government is willing to address each one of them as it will help contribute to the country’s overall economic development besides improving employment opportunities. At present, the sector provides employment to about 14.5 million people, he said.
The Minister and the other dignitaries, including J Mercykutty Amma, Kerala Fisheries Minister, gave away MPEDA Awards to 60 companies and individuals for their excellent performance.
The newly-instituted MPEDA Chairman’s Award for Most Responsible Exporter of the Year 2018-19 was given to Gadre Marine Products Pvt. Ltd., Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. The Lifetime Achievement Award, another new initiative, went to Abraham J Tharakan, Chairman and Managing Director of Kerala’s Amalgam Group.
“Whatever problems you have, the government is ready to address those,” the Union Minister assured the delegates. He asked MPEDA to prepare and submit a memorandum, listing out the sector’s requirements.
Among others who addressed the award function included K S Srinivas IAS, Chairman, MPEDA; Hibi Eden MP; Jagdish V Fofandi, National President, SEAI; Jose Cyriac, former Chairman of MPEDA and T K A Nair, veteran bureaucrat.
Mercykutty Amma sought liberal financial assistance from the Centre for the upgradation of the fishing industry in Kerala, which included replacement of kerosene engines by more environment-friendly engines and expansion of inland aquaculture. Centre’s assistance was also required for implementing the State’s plan to popularize deep sea fishing, she said.
Hibi Eden said the new Department of Fisheries should work in tandem with the Union Commerce Ministry to help the sector overcome its unprecedented challenges.
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has launched a certification system for aquaculture that guarantees quality shrimp post larvae (PL) and authenticates their quality in the highly competitive international market.
Called, Shaphari, the antibiotic-free certification, is an end-to-end solution that enables MPEDA to audit the post larvae offered by hatcheries across the country, said Arif Mohammad Khan, Kerala Governor.
As the WHO and the UN have identified the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains as a high-priority public health concern, farmers in India are bound to buy antibiotic-free post larvae from hatcheries certified by a governing body, he said.
The entire certification process will be online in tune with the e-governance programme of the Government of India.
IISS Stalls Showcase Products, Technologies
Handy jars filled with shrimp-feed for use at various stages of the growth of the aquatic species caught the attention of the visitors. The kiosk was one among the 330-odd stalls put up at the India International Seafood Show (IISS). The event showcased the latest technological interventions in the global aquaculture sector, with focus on India.
Seafood India, an MPEDA initiative, also had its stall at IISS. It was a one-stop shop which retailed export-quality processed seafood products from across the country. The facility sold ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat value-added products, among others, developed by prominent fisheries research institutions such as CMFRI, CIFT and NIFPHATT besides value-added marine products of exporters. “If nutritious feed is vital to the growth of aquatic animals, equally important is the value addition they gain on entering the supply chain as a product,” K S Srinivas IAS, Chairman, MPEDA said. The stalls spread over an area of 7000 sq. m., also showcased a wide range of products.