Government authorities of India are devising a new national policy on fisheries to increase the country’s export earnings from seafood through the implementation of an umbrella scheme for integrated development and management of fisheries. With this move the Government intends to form part of the ‘Blue Revolution’ by growing seafood exports from INR 334,400 million (USD 4,900 million) in 2014-15 to INR 1 trillion (USD 14,800 million) in next five years, The Times of India reported. Official sources revealed that the new policy will cover development and management of inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries including deep sea fishing and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB). An official stressed: “Focus on fisheries, particularly the inland ones, will also help in realising the goal of doubling the income of farmers in next five-six year through involving them in allied activities by tapping various water bodies including newly dug up ponds across the country”. Meanwhile, the union government eased foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in food processing and animal husbandry sectors and decided to permit 100 per cent FDI under government approval route for trading, including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India, Financial Express informed. Additionally, the government eliminated the requirement of controlled conditions’ for FDI in animal husbandry, pisciculture, aquaculture and apiculture. Welcoming the move, Sagar Kurade, president of All India Food Processors’ Association, pointed out, I welcome the government’s decision. This will help in the development of food procesing industry and have positive effects. The move will facilitate development of retail infrastructure in the country, and also result in better utilisation of the existing infrastructure. It is also expected to reduce middlemen and benefit farmers. For his part, Kamlesh Gupta, chairman and managing director, WestCoast group, commented:This will open up the sector to new avenues of financing and access to advanced international aquaculture and cage culture technology. This is a great opportunity for Indian aquaculture companies to partner with the incoming foreign players. Gupta also explained that currently in India, aquaculture is based largely on shrimp and low value fish. This initiative by the government will allow to expand the potential of genetically developing many more suitable species considering the demographic landscape of India.
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