Visakhapatnam, Sep 23 (IANS) Nearly 30 countries and over 2,000 Indian as well as foreign delegates are participating in the 20th edition of the India International Sea Food Show, which was inaugurated by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman here on Friday.
The three-day event, the largest sea food fair in Asia, is aimed to boost the country’s aquaculture industry with the US, EU, Southeast Asia, Japan and China as major sea food partners.
Addressing the inauguration, Sitharaman said that a number of marine products will be benefited by the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), which has been expanded to Rs 23,500 crore now.
“Certain marine and sea food products will be benefited from the new MEIS scheme which has been expanded by Rs 1,500 crore,” Sitharaman said.
The three day event jointly organised by Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPDEA) and the Sea Food Exporters Association of India (SEAI) was also attended by Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu among other dignitaries.
“An agency for development and management of aquaculture and fisheries will be set up under MPEDA in all coastal states of the country,” she said.
The biennial event, first held in 1973 in Mumbai, is the largest sea food fair in Asia which sees participation of sea food importers and exporters of marine products, processors, manufacturers and other sectors. India is the world’s second largest sea food producer.
The event aims to boost value addition to marine products and promote sustained small scale aquaculture through empowerment of farmers. This year’s sea food show has been organised with the theme of “Safe and Sustainable Indian Aquaculture” to project the quality of aquaculture.
India recorded an export of $5,511.12 billion in FY 2014-15, a growth of 10.05 per cent compared to last year. The country envisions a turnover of $10 billion by 2020.
According to Sitharaman, value addition to the marine products was necessary to boost land based sea food growth.
She said that many foreign organisations from countries like Japan and South Korea want to invest in the country to provide best aquafarming practices.
Venkaiah Naidu also emphasised on the value addition of the sea food products and said it was “the need of the hour”.
Citing the World Bank and Moody’s reports, Naidu used the platform to assure the foreign delegates that when economies of other countries was tumbling, India’s economy was stable and was moving forward.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said that he wanted Visakhapatnam to be known as “global aquaculture hub” and appreciated the support provided by the government in boosting agriculture facilities in the state.
He said more than five per cent of the state GDP was contributed by the fisheries industry.
The Chief Minister said the government was working on various projects to boost the marine industry and due to various projects in Andhra Pradesh, the country’s sea food export industry in the future will be comparable to China.
At least 160 private and government funded laboratories will be set up in the state under a common network of aqualabs and a separate jetty for fishing harbours will be constructed, the Chief Minister said.
(Priya Yadav can be reached at [email protected])