The country had exported fish valued Rs 46,589 crore during the 2018-19 fiscal.
Fish export from India, the world’s fourth largest exporting nation, is likely to decline by 5-10 per cent in 2019-20 due to demand compression in the wake of COVID-19 crisis, Union Fisheries Minister Giriraj Singh said on Tuesday.
The country had exported fish valued Rs 46,589 crore during the 2018-19 fiscal. The US, Middle East, UK and China are main export destinations for fish.
On number of COVID-19 positive fishermen, the minister said the Centre does not have a separate data, but would collate it from state governments.
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“As per the latest inputs, there is not much impact on exports. There would be maximum 5-10 per cent fall in exports,” Singh told media while sharing information about the new scheme Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
A final report on export status expected in June. There is a gap of 3-4 months after fiscal year to collate the fish export data.
The shipments were affected during initial days of the nationwide lockdown clamped to fight COVID-19 disease. But the situation began to improve after the government exempted fishing activities from the lockdown rule from mid-April onwards, he said.
The shipments to key destinations, including China, are happening now, Singh added. A senior Fisheries Ministry official said that sluggish global demand because of the lockdown in some countries has impacted the country’s exports. But, now the situation has begun to improve and normalcy in exports are expected soon.
Asserting that there is huge potential to increase India’s fish exports in the coming years, the minister said the government plans to promote export of seaweed and ornamental fish.
Seaweed and ornamental fish cultivation will be promoted through self help groups in the coming days, he said, adding that the Centre is working in 2-3 states on seaweed.
Besides, the minister said export-hub will be created in north India especially in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, where export varieties fishes like prawn cultivation will be promoted in saline water.
“So far, south India was a major export hub for fishes. Now, north India too will emerge as an export hub,” he said, adding that modern technology will be adopted in improving fisheries sector.
About the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), Singh said about Rs 20,050 crore will be spent under the scheme in next five years to make the fisheries sector robust.
The target of PMMSY is to enhance fish production to 22 million tonne by 2024-25 from the current level of 13.75 million tonnes in 2018-19.
It mainly aims to create fisheries infrastructure, reduce post-harvest losses, modernise and strengthen value chain and double export earnings to Rs 1,00,000 crore. Besides, it also aims to encourage private investment and generate about 55 lakh jobs over next five years, he added.
Ministers of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Poultry Sanjeev Balyan and Pratap Chandra Sarangi as well Fisheries Secretary Rajeev Ranjan were present at the conference.