India: The government to also allocate additional Rs 1500 crore under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) to give boost to exports of marine products.India’s resurgent seafood industry got a major impetus with Union Commerce and Industry Ministry recently announcing a raft of measures, including setting up of agencies for aquaculture and fisheries in all coastal states and export incentives for marine products under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS).
Under the MEIS, the government currently allocates Rs 22,000 crore annually for exports. “From this financial year onwards, an additional Rs 1500 crore will be allocated under the scheme that will include certain marine and seafood items,” said Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister, at a seafood conference in Visakhapatnam on September 23, 2016.
The agencies for aquaculture and fisheries, under the guidance of the chief ministers and headed by their chief secretaries, will be under the aegis of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), the nodal body for marine exports under the Union Commerce and Industry Ministry.
“Despite being a major producer, India’s seafood industry has a long way to go in fully tapping the potential for value addition. I held discussions with trade ministers from Japan and South Korea recently and they have expressed interest in collaborating with India for development of aquaculture,” she added.
Sitharman hoped that the MPEDA would play a key role in bringing in the best industry practices from around the globe to accelerate the growth of the seafood industry.
Expressing his government’s determination to make Andhra Pradesh the aquaculture hub not only of India but also of the world, N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of AP said the state accounted for over 45 per cent of India’s cultured shrimp exports during 2015-16. “We expect to touch a target of 70 per cent over the next few years,” he added.
Stressing the need for controlling diseases in farmed shrimps, Naidu said his government has set up a task force to build laboratories in this regard.