Bhubaneswar (Local Wire) July 12: Inadequate cold storage facility and absence of a refrigerated containerized handling facility at the state’s only major port is hindering the growth of seafood export from Odisha.
According to the latest study by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) that found infrastructure deficiencies in marine fish trade and commerce activities in the state, the exporters from Odisha are dependent on Visakhapatnam and Kolkata ports for the export of marine products since Paradip port does not have a refrigerated container handling facility.
The NABARD report also highlights that though the state has potential and scope for exporting live or chilled fish, there is a need to develop cargo facilities at the Bhubaneswar Airport to handle it.
“There is demand to develop marketing infrastructure, including cold chain in the state to provide good quality product to consumers and remunerative prices to farmers and fishermen,” The NABARD report stated.
The marine fisheries resource potential or the maximum sustainable yield of the state is estimated at 1.61 lakh million tons and the present level exploitation is at 95%, and modernisation of fishing crafts and the introduction of multi-day fishing vessels is required for exploitation of catch in deep and distant waters, the report said.
It may be noted that the Odisha has a total brackish water area of 4.18 lakh hectares, of which 32,587 hectares is suitable for prawn culture, and the state government has set up Brackish Water Fisheries Development Agencies (BWFDA) in seven coastal districts abundant with brackish water resources.
Brackish water prawn culture was undertaken in an area of 8389.62 hectares and 29.41 MT brackish water shrimp was produced during 2016-17.
The largest brackish water lake Chilika lake which has a water spread area of 79,000 hectares is a major source of capture fisheries.
Odisha is a naturally grown anti-biotic seafood zone with an abundance of naturally grown seafood and the aquaculture farmers of the state refrain from use of anti-biotic chemical for seafood produce, making seafood produce qualitatively good to meet international standard.
Odisha’s annual seafood export is worth Rs 1,817 crore with 30% annual export growth rate and more than 30 seafood processing units are engaged in export activities.
As many as 11 seafood processing units have been certified and approved by European Union (EU), according to marine fisheries wing officials.