NEW DELHI: Admitting annual post-harvest loss of Rs 61,000 crore in fisheries a “matter of serious concern”, the government on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that the Centre to invest Rs 50,000 crore in this sector in next five years and build adequate storage and transportation infrastructure to minimise such loss.
Currently, the annual post-harvest loss (Rs 61,000 crore) in fisheries is more than the amount of Indias annual export from this sector (Rs 46,589 crore) in value term.
The TOI on Sunday reported on post-harvest loss in fisheries which was flagged by a parliamentary standing committee on agriculture. The committee in its report, tabled in Parliament on last Friday, attributed this huge annual post-harvest loss to faulty handling practices, inordinate delay in packing & transportation and lack of proper cold storage facilities.
Referring to the committees findings, the BJD member Anubhav Mohanty on Tuesday raised the post-harvest loss issue during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha and asked the government about the steps taken by it to address the issue and double the income of fish farmers.
Responding to Mohantys supplementary question, Union animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries minister Giriraj Singh said the government was trying to reduce the post-harvest loss from current 20% to 10% (of total production) in next few years with the help of setting up proposed infrastructure.
Underlining the Centres plan to invest Rs 50,000 crore in this sector to boost production, productivity and export, Singh said the government had already sanctioned 191 ice plants, 112 ice plants-cum-cold storages and 206 refrigerated insulated trucks among other infrastructural facilities to deal with the issue of the post-harvest loss.
Currently, the inland fisheries reports much higher annual post-harvest loss (Rs 46,000 crore) as compared to marine fisheries (Rs 15,000 crore). The marine fisheries resources are spread along the countrys vast coastline and over 20 lakh square km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and nearly 6 lakh sq km continental shelf area. The inland fisheries resources, on the other hand, are in the form of rivers and canals, floodplain lakes, ponds & tanks, reservoirs, brackish water and saline/alkaline affected areas.
According to latest estimates, the total fish production in the country stood at around 13.42 million metric tonnes during 2018-19. Of this, the marine fisheries contributed 3.71 million metric tonnes. However, nearly 20% of the total production is lost after harvest.
The minister said the post-harvest loss was earlier 30% (of total production five years ago) which now reduced to 20% and it would be further reduced to 10% in coming years.
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