Aquaculture for all

Indian Fish Festival Inaugurated at Hyderabad

Technology & equipment Economics Food safety & handling +4 more

INDIA - Agriculture and Food Minister Shri Sharad Pawar reiterated the Governments high focus on the fisheries sector and said that the Government was exploring all possibilities for integrated development of this sector.

According to a governmental press release, the Minister was speaking after inaugurating the Indian Fish Festival (INFISH), 2009 at Hyderabad. INFISH has been organized jointly by the National Fisheries Development Board and Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Dr. Y. S. Rajashekara Reddy, Union Minster of State for Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Professor K.V. Thomas, and Andhra Minister for Animal Husbandry Dairying & Fisheries Shri Parthasarathi also addressed the gathering.

Shri Pawar informed that such exhibitions would be organized in different places in the country every year so as to reach out to large sections of stakeholders. The Minister also laid the foundation stone of the new NFDB office complex at Hyderabad.

Informing that fisheries sector was being targeted as an important area for national development, Shri Pawar said: ‘With a view to focus exclusively on production, processing and marketing of fish and fishery products and position a national level coordinating body between state governments and various research institutions, we have established the National Fisheries Development Board at Hyderabad as an autonomous body under our Ministry. The annual growth rate of over 4per cent in fisheries is indicative of the immense opportunity in the coming years. It is in this context that the Government of India is exploring all possibilities for integrated development of fishery sector and establishing NFDB is one major step in this direction.’

The Minister said that while focusing on production, there was also a need for promotion of domestic market for ensuring remunerative prices to the producers. This could be achieved by educating the general public on the nutritional and medicinal values of fish by conducting seminars and recipe competitions and other awareness programmes. INFISH 2009, he said, was focusing on promoting fish as a health food by encouraging setting up of food courts exclusively dedicated to fish and fishery products.

The Minister appealed to the Chief Minster of Andhra Pradesh to focus on women self-help groups as an important livelihood promotion opportunity in the State. He expressed happiness over the fact that about seven lakh women self help groups were financially well supported through several banks in Andhra Pradesh. The Minister also advised MPEDA to focus on export of ornamental fish.

Elaborating on the vast potential of fisheries in India and the need for promoting new technologies through fish festivals, Shri Pawar said: ‘India is not only a maritime country but also an important aquaculture country in the world, holding third position in global production and second place in aquaculture, next only to China. The contribution of Indian fish to the food basket of the world has been substantial. Fishery products also constitute the largest group of our agriculture exports. We have 17per cent of the global population to sustain, with only 2.3per cent of land, but about 4.2per cent of water. Providing nutritious food and gainful employment are the foremost challenges in the country today. With increasing pressure on land for various human activities, water resources in different forms are an option and opportunity for enhancing food production through fisheries.

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