The Ministry of Fisheries in collaboration with the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) on Tuesday launched the first fisheries incubator in the country as part of the efforts to boost aquaculture and value addition in fisheries through cooperatives.
Part of the larger Blue Revolution or Pradhan Mantri Matsaya Sampada Yojna launched in September with an outlay of Rs. 20,050 crore for five years, the incubator set up in Gurugram based Laxmanrao Inamdar National Academy for Cooperative Research and Development (LINAC) will make a start with 10 entrepreneurs who will be provided with all facilities and guidance for three years to establish their business.
“Given the Covid protocol, we are initially starting with 10 entrepreneurs who either represent a cooperative or have some link with them. We hope to increase the number of entrepreneurs at a later date in Gurugram and at the 8 satellite centres to be set up,” Minister of Fisheries Parshottam Rupala told media on the sidelines of the conference held to brief interested businessmen.
Announcing plans for the rollout of credit cards to fishermen and those working in the animal husbandry sector on the lines of the Kisan credit card, the minister stressed that for the first time institutional credit will be available to those seeking to become entrepreneurs in the fisheries sector.
The aim is to boost the cooperative sector's role in fisheries business, which is currently just around 20 per cent in India as against the global scenario where cooperatives account for 70-80 per cent of the business.
India is targeting raising fishery exports to Rs. 1 lakh crore by 2024-25 as against 12,89,651 tonne of seafood worth Rs 46,662.85 crore in 2019-20, which declined 6.31 per cent in the last fiscal year due to the health pandemic. Despite the setback, India’s fishery export has in the past been growing by 7 per cent.
Sundeep Kumar Nayak, managing director of NCDC, said the incubation centre will provide free or low-cost workspace to incubates or start-ups to reduce overhead costs in their nascent stage as cooperatives or federated self-help groups.
The aim is to promote entrepreneurship in the fisheries right from aquaculture to handling, storage, value addition, marketing, etc., to meet growing demand both within the country and overseas.
“We hope the endeavour will produce 10-12 start-ups or farmer producer organizations (FPOs) in the fisheries sector in a year besides providing 3 to 6 months business training-cum-internship to around 25 aqua-preneurs,” Nayak stated.
The new endeavour is expected to generate more wealth for the fisher community and those engaged in inland and sea aquaculture as also create more employment through cooperatives that are being encouraged to enter new businesses related to the sector.