Bhubaneswar: Marine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) in association with Fisheries & Animal Resources Development Department, Government of Odisha organised a seminar on “Diversified Aquaculture with Special Focus to GIFT” on 11th July 2022 at Krushi Bhawan, Bhubaneswar on the occasion of the celebration of Golden Jubilee of MPEDA and Silver Jubilee of RGCA.
Ranendra Pratap Swain, Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Empowerment, Fisheries & ARD inaugurated the Seminar as Chief Guest and congratulated MPEDA for rendering essential service to the aquaculture farmers and exporters of India which have made records all-time high exports figures i.e. 7.7 billion US $ during 2021-22 in spite of COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Minister expressed his pleasure in the overall Fisheries development of Odisha, which is 4th in terms of Aquaculture production in the country and the total production was 9.91 lakh Metric tons during the last financial year. Seafood exports from Odisha touched a record Rs. 4560 Crores last year and all credits go to the farmers, hatchery operators, feed manufacturers, exporters, researchers and workers who contributed to the fish production and exports. Diversification of species and Best Management Practices (BMP) must be adopted in an intensive manner so as to ensure eco-friendly and sustainable aquaculture for better production. Some sort of rectification in policy and more funding for R & D is required to scale up the socio-economical development of the farmers through aquaculture activities.
Odisha deserved to be the No.1 State in India in aquaculture to which the present Govt. is highly committed and he assured that all the help required for the sector will be extended. He said the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha has introduced a 5T system in Odisha for good governance which is unique in our Country. It is time to learn from diversified aquaculture from other countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and even our neighbour Bangladesh where they grow more than 50 varieties of fish. This has made those countries grow speedily in aquaculture and make their farmers very prosperous. In any business, product diversification is key for growth and enduring success. Diversification gives vast options to farmers and the entire sector and makes them very resilient to various shocks including disease epidemics, climate changes and market fluctuations. Similarly, diversification gives consumers a wide range of seafood options, said the minister. In spite of a marathon achievement in vannamei production in the last one and half decades, still introducing more and more viable species must be included in the brackish water culture system to enhance productivity and accelerate foreign export. The use of unused water bodies and sustainable exploitation of aquaculture resources must be emphasized by the department. Like trending now, aquaculture infrastructure development must be at the peak in the priority list.
Odisha government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MPEDA-RGCA for developing and renewing OSSPARC in Gopalpur for Seabass and P. monodon seed production centre which is a dream project of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha. With the joint effort of MPEDA, the Dept. of Fisheries can do more projects in Odisha State, which is well known for mineral deposits always and it will be well known for “Odisha Machha” hereafter, added the Minister.
Addressing the keynotes, Sri R Raghu Prasad, Principal Secretary, Fisheries and ARD thanked MPEDA, RGCA, NETFISH, NaCSA for rendering un tired support to the farming community of Odisha and for conducting a useful Seminar on diversified aquaculture with special focus to GIFT, which is an exotic species but yet very nutrients fortified fish with affordable cost for an ordinary man. Empowering the farmers, the department of fisheries is ensuring subsidies in all components under all schemes. To make ease of “application process” for the beneficiaries under different schemes/components the Department of Fisheries has introduced the Go-SUGAM portal.
Odisha really required an alternative species for freshwater aquaculture and thus GIFTTilapia can fulfil the requirements. Odisha has 4.18 lakh ha of Brackish water resources and 480 Kms. of coastline for fisheries development of the state. These brackish water and coastal lines are very important for Odisha for augmenting fish production by introducing diversified species. Fisheries Dept of Odisha is very keen on introducing diversified species to the farming community for their livelihood, increasing the exports by the exporters and also supporting the domestic market. Steps have been taken to set up hatcheries for seabass, P. monodon and GIFT Tilapia very soon in our State in association with MPEDA. An agreement has been signed with the R&D Arm of MPEDA, RGCA the activities will begin very shortly. The old shrimp hatchery OSSPARC which was the landmark for Odisha for shrimp aquaculture has been reinvented for setting up of seabass and P. monodon hatchery, he added.
Dr K. N. Raghavan, Chairman, MPEDA and President, RGCA presided over the function and elaborated on the Role of MPEDA and RGCA in the field of Aquaculture with reference to the Species diversification of aquatic species.
Sri Smruti Ranjan Pradhan, Director of Fisheries expressed his view on the importance of species diversification in aquaculture. He told that, with a massive initiative, GIFT hatchery has been established at Kausalyaganga, which is the first of its kind in Odisha to provide quality GIFT seeds at the doorstep of Fish farmers of Odisha and neighbouring states. With diverse aquatic resources at its disposal, the State could benefit greatly from the development of the fisheries sector with the diversification of species thereby generating employment, promoting trade, securing nutrition and empowering the local community. A diverse range of aquaculture practices can promote synergies among farmed species, enhance system resilience, enable conservation, decrease ecological footprints, and provide social benefits such as additional income and nutritional security, he added. Through the introduction of circular cage culture in Hirakud Reservoir, Odisha has immense potential to produce an additional 1.25 lakh MT of fish from major reservoirs in collaboration with the PFCS members and private entrepreneurs. He expressed that the MoU with RGCA for the establishment of a new GIFT Tipalia hatchery at Bomlai fish farm in Sambalpur and the development of facilities for P.monodon and Sea bass seed production will go a long way for Odisha farmers in species diversification and foreign exchange earning. He also emphasized the exploitation of aquatic resources in a sustainable manner for better earning livelihoods for the fishermen and fish farmers of Odisha.
Dr M. Karthikeyan, Director, MPEDA delivered a welcome address. Dr T.G Manoj Kumar, Project Director(Diversified Aquaculture), RGCA highlighted the initiatives taken by MPEDA for diversified aquaculture in India and Dr Anup Mandal, Project Director( selective Breeding & Aquaculture) elaborated on the MPEDA initiatives for GIFT aquaculture in India. Sri Sibasish Mohanty, Assistant Director, MPEDA, Bhubaneswar briefed the GIFT aquaculture in Odisha.
During the occasion, Fisheries Experts and Progressive Fish Farmers were felicitated. Vote of thanks rendered by Sri Rajakumar S. Naik, Deputy Director, MPEDA, Bhubaneswar.