Value-addition to marine products is critical if India is to compete in the international market, as mostly only raw material is being exported, according to experts.
They were speaking here at a one-day workshop organised by the Marine Products Exports Development Authority (Mpeda) on Thursday.
T Dola Sankar, Director (Marketing), Mpeda, said that in India only 6 per cent value-addition is being done, in comparison with 65 per cent in Thailand.
“We have to cover a long ground. We have made very little headway in the past decade. AP leads in marine exports and AP exporters and processors should take the initiative in the matter.”
V Padmanabham, National President, Seafood Exporters’ Association of India (SEAI), said there was no question that value-addition should be taken on large scale and the bigger exporters should take the lead, making use of the Government schemes.
He also urged the Union government to accord agriculture status to fisheries, a long-pending demand, and to address the other pending issues.
P Paul Pandian, Development Commissioner (Fisheries), in the Union Ministry of Agriculture, said that the Rs 3,000 crore alloted by the government under the umbrella blue revolution scheme should be used by exporters and processors.
YS Prasad, CEO of the State-run AP Food Processing Society, said the government had released Rs 160 crore subsidy to 30 new processing units in the past four years, adding a capacity of 1.5 lakh tonnes.