Indian aquaculture initiatives win National Fisheries Awards

24 November 2020, at 10:52am

Innovative companies involved in shrimp feed production and adding value to fish processing by-products have been recognised in India’s 2020 National Fisheries Awards.

M Karuna Raju of Sai Aqua Feeds beside the company's Vannamei Plus shrimp feeds
M Karuna Raju of Sai Aqua Feeds beside the company's Vannamei Plus shrimp feeds

Sai Aqua Feeds, a startup from Andhra Pradesh which adopted technology developed by the ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIBA) to formulate shrimp feed, won the Best Fisheries Enterprises award. Called Vannamei Plus, the feed can reduce the production cost in shrimp aquaculture by 20 percent. It was developed as an alternative to costly foreign feeds in line with the Indian government’s “Make in India” drive.

“In shrimp aquaculture, the feed constitutes around 60 per cent of the production cost. Further, this Desi Feed is a compliment to shrimp feed sector in India, which is mostly led by multi-national feed companies,” said Dr KK Vijayan, director of CIBA.

The company started operation in 2017 and has recorded an average annual production of 2,585 tonnes. Many shrimp farms in Guntur district remained unaffected by the Covid-induced lockdown, as the company managed to supply them with feeds. Apart from Andhra Pradesh, the company is also able to supply farmers in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Odisha.

Members of Nambikkai fish farmers group engaging in recycling fish waste demo day
Members of Nambikkai fish farmers group engaging in recycling fish waste demo day

Meanwhile the Nambikkai fish farmers group in Tamil Nadu won the ‘Best Fisheries Self-Help Group’ award. The group, from Pattinapakkam in Chennai, bagged the award for successfully adopting the technology that converts fish processing offcuts into value-added products, which had also been developed by ICAR-CIBA.

The two products are called Plankton Plus and Horti Plus: the first is used in aquaculture systems to boost and maintain healthy plankton blooms, the latter as an organic manure in horticulture. The products have been developed under CIBA’s ‘Waste to Wealth’ initiative in line with the Swachh Bharat mission of the central government.

The group produced over 16 tonnes of value-added products and attained an annual turnover of Rs. 1.68 million. The group has seven members, all from the Scheduled Cast community, and four of them are women. Despite the pandemic, the group managed to earn Rs. 2 lakh as livelihood support by collecting fish waste and fish trimmings from processing companies and markets.

“This technology of CIBA has the potential to propagate across the country in cleaning the fish markets and also providing alternative livelihood to many as a circular economy,” said Dr Vijayan,

“This award is a recognition of our hard work and gives enormous confidence to upscale the production,” said T Kennit Raj, head of the group. “The CIBA’s training was very much effective in materialising its technology in a viable way.”

The awards were presented by Shri Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Union Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, at a function held at New Delhi on Saturday.

“We are happy that the technologies developed by CIBA reach out to the targeted community and emerge as the best livelihood option for them,” said Dr Vijayan.

Aquaculture and fisheries consultant

Amod Ashok Salgaonkar has wide experience in strategy, procurement, merchandising, negotiations and customer service operations of various seafood businesses. He has worked with multinational companies like METRO Cash & Carry and Walmart as well as managing scientific projects like monitoring of potential fishing zones. He is now a mentor to many young fisheries professionals in India, a consultant on fisheries projects and on the international advisory board of Friend of the Sea.

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