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Tripura Leads in Fish Consumption, Punjab and Haryana Lag Behind: Study Reveals

The research titled ‘Fish Consumption in India: Patterns and Trends’ uncovers regional discrepancies in fish intake, with Tripura emerging as the frontrunner.

Shivam Dwivedi
Tripura Leads in Fish Consumption, Punjab and Haryana Lag Behind: Study Reveals (Photo Source: IFPRI)
Tripura Leads in Fish Consumption, Punjab and Haryana Lag Behind: Study Reveals (Photo Source: IFPRI)

A recent study titled ‘Fish Consumption in India: Patterns and Trends’ conducted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), in collaboration with WorldFish and other esteemed institutions, has shed light on the diverse landscape of fish consumption across India. The study, utilizing primary data from various government sources including the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) reports spanning 15 years, has revealed intriguing insights into the dietary habits of the Indian populace.

At the forefront of the findings is Tripura, emerging as the indisputable champion of fish consumption, boasting an astounding 99.35% of its population incorporating fish into their diet. In stark contrast, states like Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana exhibit the lowest percentages of fish consumers, with figures as low as 20.55%. These statistics underscore a notable culinary divide traversing the length and breadth of the country.

Cultural Inclinations and Dietary Preferences

The study further delineates regional patterns, with northeastern and eastern states, along with Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Goa, showcasing a cultural inclination towards fish consumption, with over 90% of their populations embracing fish in their daily fare. Conversely, northern states such as Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan reflect lower percentages, indicative of distinct dietary preferences and potentially influenced by fish availability and cultural acceptance.

Kerala emerges as a frontrunner in daily fish consumption, with a remarkable 53.5% of its populace partaking in fish daily, followed closely by Goa at 36.2%. West Bengal, Manipur, Assam, and Tripura also demonstrate substantial daily consumption figures.

Temporal Trends and Gendered Differences

An analysis of temporal trends reveals significant shifts in fish consumption patterns over the past 15 years. Notably, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a notable increase, while Punjab experienced a decline. Moreover, gendered differences in fish consumption follow regional patterns, with a wider gap observed in states with lower overall consumption rates, hinting at potential factors such as men consuming fish outside the home.

Nutritional Implications and Future Projections

With India positioned as the third-largest fish-producing nation globally, contributing approximately 8% to global fish production, the study underscores the imperative of integrating fish consumption into public health and nutrition strategies. Dr. J.K. Jena, Deputy Director General at ICAR, emphasizes the pivotal role of fish in ensuring food security and combating undernutrition. The study forecasts a doubling of fish consumption in India by the centenary year of India’s freedom in 2047–2048, with annual per capita consumption expected to reach 16.07 kg, provided current trends persist.

As the study's findings reverberate, it becomes evident that fish consumption in India is not merely a dietary choice but a reflection of cultural, economic, and regional dynamics. Addressing disparities and harnessing the potential of fish as a nutritional powerhouse is paramount for the holistic well-being of the nation.

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