Then Union Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade A C George and Kerala Chief Minister C Achutha Menon at the function at which MPEDA was inaugurated  at Kochi on August 24, 1972.
Then Union Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade A C George and Kerala Chief Minister C Achutha Menon at the function at which MPEDA was inaugurated at Kochi on August 24, 1972.File photo

MPEDA’s golden jubilee celebrations to begin in Kochi on Wednesday

Kochi, August 23, 2022

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel will launch the golden jubilee celebrations of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) -- which is credited with making India's marine products a global brand -- in Kochi on Wednesday.

Launched in 1972, MPEDA has in these five decades achieved many breakthroughs, helped improve infrastructure and provided a considerable impetus to the seafood industry in the country’s coastal states in the face of stiff global competition.

A statutory body of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, MPEDA has taken India's marine exports to 1.4 million tonnes (Rs. 57,586 crore) today as against just 35,523 tonnes 50 years ago and helped Indian sea food get a stamp of approval from gourmets across the globe.

At tomrrow's event, the Minister will also give away the MPEDA Export Awards and the Champions Trophy of MPEDA Golden Jubilee Marine Quest 2022.

The event will be attended by Diwakar Nath Misra, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Government of India; former MPEDA Chairman T. K. A. Nair (former Principal Secretary & Advisor to Prime Minister), Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Chairman Paul Antony (former Kerala Chief Secretary); and Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) President Jagadish Fofandi.

MPEDA Chairman Dodda Venkata Swamy said the golden jubilee comes amid its continued efforts to capitalise on the milestones reflected in its fundamental focus on capture fisheries, value-added products and market promotion, besides establishing a pan-India network while invigorating quality and sustainability.

“We are readying to host the 23rd edition of the biennial India International Seafood Show (IISS). The February 2023 event at Kolkata will provide an ideal platform for interaction between Indian exporters and overseas importers of India’s marine products,” he added.

MPEDA has decided to chalk out an export development plan to target exports of $ 20 billion in the next five years. “It will require a growth rate of about 15 per cent. We need to sustain and accelerate the growth tempo to meet this target,” he pointed out.

To achieve this target, MPEDA plans to identify around 20 export markets which account for about 90 per cent of exports and assign each market to an officer, who would be tasked with gauging the export potential and monitoring the market trends. Further, other plans include publishing a monthly market update and preparing a buyers’ directory for distribution among the exporters.

States play a significant role in the implementation of various activities of MPEDA. Preparing a state-wise export development plan in consultation with states would be its priority. The organisation is exploring the option of identifying entrepreneurs to export seafood in rupees to Russia.

MPEDA had begun its current decade with a significant deal with Cochin Port Trust to modernise Cochin Fisheries Harbour with more than a dozen key features that will enhance the unit value of sea-caught items and minimise post-harvest losses, Swamy recalled. The September 2020 MoU facilitated the Rs 140-crore project that will mobilise resources from various Central government schemes.

In order to broad-base its programmes and activities, MPEDA has set up three allied bodies like RGCA (Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture) at Sirkali in Tamil Nadu, which promotes diversified aquaculture such as seabass, mud crab and GIFT (Tilapia) and is also engaged in the revival of Black Tiger shrimp in Andaman. The other two arms of MPEDA are NETFISH (Network for Fish Quality Management and Sustainable Fishing) at Kochi, which provides extension services to fishers and collects real-time catch data and supports in the validation of catch certification for exports, and NaCSA (National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture) at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, which promotes cluster farming, provides financial assistance for common infrastructure facilities.

MPEDA launched E-SANTA, an e-commerce platform connecting farmers and exporters.

Another significant achievement was launching a system validating EU catch and ICCAT (The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) certificates, besides opening 16 ELISA labs for pre-harvest testing. The last decade saw it starting 20 Aqua One Centres for farmers, providing SHAPHARI Certification for residue-free shrimps, virtual commerce platform E-SANTA and earning a patent for mud-crab hatchery technology.

“We achieved these due to our ventures in the early 2000s, new studies, tapping unexplored foreign markets, and going for conservation initiatives. MPEDA got Indian seafood branded even as RGCA, our development arm, facilitated the production of mud-crab seeds on commercial lines,” he said.

Noting that such achievements were a result of MPEDA’s modernisation, Swamy observed, “Not only did it give way to higher exports, but we also went for massive promotional activities, researches and camps, besides organising virtual Buyer Seller Meets in all the major markets abroad during the pandemic, which boosted trade.

“As early as in the 1970s and ’80s, USA and Japan had become our major buyers, prompting MPEDA to open a Trade Promotion Office in Tokyo and New York. That was around the time we introduced commercial shrimp hatcheries, too."

NNN

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