In a bid to ensure that shrimp and other exportable varieties of fish are free from any trace of banned and unwanted substances, Marine Products Export Development Authority ( Mpeda) has developed a GPS-based database of export-oriented aquaculture farms in the country for their traceability as well as to secure interests of end-consumer.
Under the scheme, Mpeda is enrolling all the farms engaged in production of shrimp, shellfish and other exportable varieties of fish by providing the farmers cards carrying a unique identification number (farm ID) and quick response (QR) code containing basic information about their farms.
An estimated 100,000 farms covering about 195,994 hectares are under shrimp culture in India. Out of this, MPEDA has collected GPS data for 65,595 farms covering 148,321 hectares while enrollment has been completed for 54,165 farms.
The cards will be distributed among the enrolled aquaculture farmers by commerce minister Suresh Prabhu at a function in Vizag on February 25 in the presence of Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Mpeda chairman A Jayathilak said the purpose of enrollment is to identify each unit for extending the assistance schemes as well as for their traceability. The produce from the enrolled units can be traced back from farm to end-consumer in case of detection of unwanted or unauthorised substances in the produce.
The pre-harvest test (PHT) to screen the farm produce for banned antibiotics such as Choloramphenicol and Nitrofuran is also linked with the ID issued to the enrolled famers. PHT certificate is compulsory for the exports of aquaculture shrimp to the European Union (EU).
Such a measure would go a long way in addressing concerns of USA, Japan and the EU for stringent quality controls over exports of seafood and check traces of banned antibiotics in consignments, Jayathilak noted.