Assocham recommends measures to tap fisheries potential | SupportBiz


Assocham recommends measures to tap fisheries potential

India's fish production is set to cross 13 million tonnes by 2016 from the current nine million tonnes, says a study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM).

The apex industry body, however, suggested to the government to take measures to improve infrastructure and offer incentives to tap the immense potential of the fisheries sector.

According to the study 'A prize catch in Indian export basket', released here Tuesday, the fish production in the country can grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of about seven percent in the next four to five years provided the government takes appropriate steps.

The current CAGR is 3.5 percent.

Assocham national secretary general D.S. Rawat told reporters that appropriate measures would help the sector tapping the full employment and foreign exchange earning potential.

He pointed out that exports account for only eight percent of the total fish production in India.

"While the total global fish trade is estimated at $138 billion, India's exports are a meagre $3 billion," he said.

The study projected that India's exports would go up to $4.7 billion by 2014.

India ranks second in fish production but far behind China, which is also leading in aquaculture production.

Globally India's share in fisheries production is about five percent and marine/inland fishery exports account for a meagre two percent of the global trade.

The study highlighted the fact that bottlenecks in distribution and low annual average production, together with inadequate infrastructure, are hampering the growth of the sector.

Assocham has suggested creation of a separate ministry to remove the bottlenecks. It recommended setting up of a centralised coordinating agency to guide all stakeholders and for training and skill development.

"Absence of organised retail in fish trade and age-old system of distribution is resulting in high wastage and spoilage," said Rawat.

He said the measures would give a better price to fishermen and help improve their standard of life. The sector employs over 15 million people.

The industry body has suggested to the government to extend incentives for aquaculture and inland fisheries to achieve higher growth rate and offset the lower growth in marine fisheries.

"Indian marine waters are home to over 1,700 fish species, including 200 commercially significant species," said R. Sannareddy, chairman of Assocham southern regional council.

About 67 percent of the total fish produced in India is consumed in the fresh form due to low demand for value added products and about six percent is converted into fishmeal.

Processed and dried fish accounts for 16 percent and seven to 10 percent frozen, while a very small portion of less than one percent is canned.

The domestic demand for all types of fish is about 7.5 million tonnes currently and is likely to cross 10 million tonnes by 2016.

Among the states, West Bengal accounts for 20 percent of the fish production followed by Andhra Pradesh with 16 percent.

With a CAGR of about eight percent and with over 13.5 lakh tonnes of fish production annually, Andhra Pradesh ranks second in terms of growth.

Karnataka has the highest growth rate of fish production with about 11.48 percent CAGR.

With over 300-km-long coastline and six lakh hectares of inland waters and eight lakh fisher folk, Karnataka produces about five lakh tonnes of fish annually and accounts for over six percent of total fish production in India.