Source: The Economic Times, Sept 23, 2016
VISHAKAPATTANAM: Two major forces in the seafood sector Japan and Korea have expressed interest in investing in value addition of seafood products in India, according to union commerce minister Nirmala Sitaraman.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the 20th India International Seafood Show being held at Vishakapattanam on Friday, she invited the trade members of both the countries to visit the aquaculture farms in the country,particularly Andhra Pradesh, which is leading in aquaculture production in the country. She said both the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh government are keen to increase the value addition of Indian seafood exports which have touched Rs 30000 crore annually. “They can bring the technology and best practices from the world over and implement it here in a cost effective manner,” she said.
She said the government has extended the scope of the merchandise exports from India scheme (MEIS) by bringing certain seafood products under it. The total annual outlay under the scheme will be increased from Rs 22,000 crore by another Rs 1500 crore.
She also said a coastal agency for the development of aquaculture and fishery will be formed in all the coastal states under Marine Products Export Development Authority (Mpeda) headed by the chief secretary and under the guidance of chief minister.The agency will look into all the state-based issues in the fishery sector.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said he hoped to make the state aquaculture hub of the world. At present it accounts for 45% of the India’s total seafood exports. “ We want to increase it to 60 to 70% in the next couple of years. We have already increased allocation for the seafood sector,” he said.
Both Mpeda member and MP Hari Babu and Seafood Exporters Association of India president V Padmanabham argued for providing agriculture status to aquaculture so that aquaculture farmers won’t lose out on the benefits available for the farming sector. Mpeda chairman A Jayathilak said the organisation has targetted a seafood export of $10 billion from India by 2020.