Animal Husbandry

By Value Addition, the Income of Fish Farmers, Workers and Exporters can be Doubled

Ajith Kumar V R
Ajith Kumar V R
fisheries
Fisheries in India

India is blessed with abundance of fishes. Inland fisheries is as active as marine resources. But farmers, business firms and workers are not properly benefitted out of it. To get benefit, the sector has to come forward with value addition packages. Presently, most of the fishes are used raw or exported as frozen fish .

The fact is that the huge gains in fish production has gone unnoticed by the authorities. India is the second largest producer of fish in the world. Fish production increased from 56 lakh tonnes in 2001 to 137 lakh tonnes in 2019. The main reason for this jump is inland fisheries. It has increased from 28 lakh tonnes to 95 lakh tonnes. The seafood production in 2019 was 35.6 lakh tonnes. There was also a remarkable improvement in exports. Export earnings increased from Rs 6,400 crore in 2001 to Rs 46,500 crore in 2019.

Andhra Pradesh is a major contributor to inland fisheries. AP produced 34 lakh tonnes in 2018 as against 16 lakh tonnes in 2012 .That means, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of AP is 11.4%. This is a huge achievement since the national CAGR is 5.5%. With this leap, Andhra Pradesh became the largest exporter of inland fish that comes to 40% of the total.

shrimp

The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) aims to double the income of fish farmers and fishermen. It also aims to increase exports from Rs 46,500 crore in 2019 to Rs 1 lakh crore by 2025. But it is doubtful whether the current growth is sufficient to achieve this. While the annual growth target is 9%, the current growth is only 7%. The export target is 11.5% CAGR, but since 2015 it has been only 8.5%. The fact that the export increase of value added products is only 2% that itself is an impediment to achieving the target. The goal of more production and more exports of raw fishes cannot be assumed to be effective. The truth is that 60% of our fisheries potential is now being used. Therefore, the target should be to produce and export processed fish and value added fish products rather than increase the volume of exports.

Shrimp exports are the largest source of revenue in terms of economic value. Shrimp brings in 70% of the export revenue. In 2019-20, the revenue was Rs 34,000 crore. But only 30% of this is value-added processed shrimp. We usually freeze fresh shrimp and export it to China, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. They in turn make value-added products and export it to the US and Europe at 40-120% price increase. India is losing a huge industrial sector of value addition. Moreover, rural women are losing their well-paying jobs. Starting such value added fish production units can increase employment in this sector by 50% to 100%. This will pave the way for 80-100% increase in the wages of the workers. It is imperative that workers be trained for this. We have to give international standard training with the help of organizations working in the field of value added products.

Providing production linked incentives to companies engaged in value-added product manufacturing can also ensure that it reaches the real industries. It requires better, more transparent, faster systems and less government intervention. If the Central and State Governments and the various agencies work together, the target of 2025 can be achieved. Central Government should initiate such a process at the earliest coordinating the administration business and the farm sector.

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