The Union government is considering granting agriculture status to the seafood industry, including aquaculture. This old demand of the seafood industry is expected to be fulfilled soon, according to sources. The proposal is now under consideration of the ministry of agriculture.
The seafood sector has an industry status and is under the control of the ministry of commerce.
Since fish farming is a fast growing business and similar to agriculture activities, the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) has been pressing this demand for quiet some time.
“The agri status will benefit the industry in a multifaceted ways,” said Ravi Reddy, president, SEAI. The fish production sector, especially aquaculture farms, are not getting sufficient loans from financial institutions. Once the status is granted, loans at lower interest rates will be easy and will benefit thousands of aquaculture farmers.
Because of inadequate finance and high risk in the production, insurance is also not provided to this sector. A majority of the aquaculture farms in the country are not yet insured, he added.
Also, power will be provided at lower rates, as in the case of farming. For the sea fishing sector, diesel might be available at subsidised rates for mechanised boats.
The country produced 145,600 tonnes of products through aquaculture yearly valued at Rs 3,585 crore in 2010-11.
Production increased 39.7 per cent as against 41,381 tonnes valued at Rs 1,054 crore in 2009-10.