Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, April 27:
The Odisha government is ready with a comprehensive fisheries policy aimed at bridging the gap between the demand and supply of fish for domestic consumption and encouraging public private partnership (PPP) to raise the production capacity in the fishery sector.
The key areas of the policy are based on national and international commitments and requirements covering the entire gamut of fisheries – harvest and post harvest infrastructure and market support, socio economic aspects of fishermen and related issues.
As per the draft fisheries policy, the state government has aimed to tap the potential of aquaculture, inland as well as marine fisheries.
“Odisha is one of the major states that offers a vast scope for development of inland, brackish water and marine fisheries. The strength of the fisheries sector in Odisha lies in the large under or unutilized fresh water and brackish water resources. By harnessing the resources judiciously, the fish production from the capture and capture-cum-culture fisheries could be substantially augmented to meet the domestic market demand, create employment for rural poor and enhance their food, nutritional and livelihood opportunities,” said the draft policy.
The objectives of the policy include upgradation of infrastructure facilities in the fisheries sector, upgradation of overall quality of fish, enhancing productivity and production of fish and expanding export markets for high value products.
The policy has also laid importance on an efficient value chain and an organised and secure marketing of fish and fishery products so as to protect the interests of both producers and consumers’ while augmenting marine products export and foreign exchange earnings of Odisha.
The state has 80% fish eating population and the market is enormous.
The policy has provisions for fiscal incentives. It seeks to declare aquaculture as an agricultural activity to facilitate easy flow of credit/ institutional finance.
Necessary incentives and tax holidays will be provided to large scale fish farmers who produce at least 10 tonnes of fish per hectare.
The policy draft says adequate and timely credit will be provided to investors, particularly towards working capital in the fish processing sector. The government will also promote insurance cover for fresh water aquaculture by providing 50 per cent of the insurance premium.