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Urge market, product diversification for shrimp-heavy Indian seafood trade.

Urge Market, Product Diversification For Shrimp-Heavy Indian Seafood Trade Madras Fair addresses major industry issues. Call made for upgrade in technology and expansion of deep-sea fisheries to redress balance problem.

The importance of product diversification was among the main points stressed by Dr. P.C. Alexander, governor of Tamil Nadu, as he warned delegates attending the Eighth Indian Seafood Trade Fair in Madras that the country's fish industry can't afford to remain dependent on shrimp exports to Japan.

A strong domestic market is essential to the stability of India's seafood industry, Dr. Alexander said. The industry should get away from its dependence on shrimp (which now account for 80% of marine exports) and urgently needs to develop markets other than Japan -- if Japanese housewives turn to other kinds of fish, he observed, exports will be in trouble.

Dr. Alexander was secretary of commerce in 1975-76, when Indian seafood exports first topped 10 million rupees. Although growth since then has been impressive, he said, the seafood industry can't afford to remain complacent -- it must intensify efforts to tap the potential of cuttlefish, squid, lobsters and groundfish that now account for only five percent of exports. And in dealing with affluent countries like Japan and the United States, it can't afford any laxity in quality standards -- other countries are ready to move in on the same markets, he warned.

Seafood production, especially from deepsea fisheries that could generate gainful employment for millions of people in a short time, should be stepped up, Dr. Alexander said. Jagdish Tytler, minister of state for the Indian Ministry of Food Processing Industries, picked up on that idea by calling for upgrading of technology in the seafood industry. Marine fish landings are stagnant, he complained, mainly due to slow development of deep sea fishery programs. Shri Tytler said his ministry had approached the Finance Ministry to get approval for more food processing equipment on the import list and reduced tariffs on processed foods and packaging materials.

Better financial incentives are needed for the seafood industry, he said. Regulations for setting up deep sea fishing projects have been liberalized under the 100% Export Oriented Unit system, he noted, and his own ministry is committed to providing basic facilities for such projects. Hopefully, there will be more Indian-foreign joint ventures under the liberalized policies, Shri Tytler said. He also urged maritime states to provide the infrastructures for fisheries as part of their harbor development programs. Tamil Nadu is already trying to help, said Dr. K. Chandrasekaran, the state's minister of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries. Some 60% of the 55,000 hectares of brackish water in Tamil Nadu are being made available for fishery programs, he said, and the state is seeking financial aid from the central government. Tamil Nadu also wants prawn hatcheries exempted from a ban on construction within 500 meters of the coastline.

Expressions of support for the Indian seafood industry came from Minoru Yoshioka, president of the Japan Marine Products Importers Association; and from Noel J. Blackman, director of the New York Association of Seafood Importers. T.K.A. Nair, chairman of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), noted that the fair drew 60 exhibits and 700 people, including 80 representatives from 20 foreign countries. Two business sessions, one on production and the other on trade, were held with representatives of domestic and overseas companies, respectively.

PHOTO : The Eighth Indian Seafood Trade Fair is formally opened by Dr. P.C. Alexander, governor of

PHOTO : Tamil Nadu. Watching the ribbon-cutting ceremony are (from right): Jagdish Tytler, Ministe

PHOTO : r of Trade for Food Processing Industries; T.K.A. Nair, MPEDA Chairman; Dr. K. Chandraseka

PHOTO : ran, Tamil Nadu Minister of Fisheries.

PHOTO : The traditional Indian greeting of garlanding warmly welcomes Noel J. Blackman, director o

PHOTO : f the New York Association of Seafood Importers, to Madras.
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Title Annotation:QFFI's Global Seafood Magazine
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Apr 1, 1989
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