Marine products and sea food items have now been brought under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), by expanding its scope to Rs 23,500 crore annually, which would incentivise export of aqua products from the country, Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday.
The State Agency for Development of Aquaculture and Fisheries would be set up in each of the coastal states to look into state-based issues in the aquaculture sector, Sitharaman said, inaugurating the 20th India International Seafood Show at the Port Trust Diamond Jubilee Stadium on Friday.
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“The scope of MEIS was Rs 22,000 crore annually. The Director General of Foreign Trade issued a notification yesterday expanding its scope by another Rs 1,500 crore to extend incentives to marine products,” she said.
The proposed state agency would “confederate” the authority of MPEDA and function under the Chief Secretary of the respective states, the minister added.
Now that the scene worldwide was shifting from traditional aqua products, value addition has become essential, Sitharaman said.
“Recently, I have discussed the issue with trade ministers of Japan and Korea. They are ready to invest in value addition in the seafood industry. The Invest India Cell has also been receiving enquiries and quite a few investments will happen in value addition (of marine products),” the Union Minister said.
Noting that Indian seafood export was currently the seventh largest in the world, she said there was an immense scope for significantly improving it.
“The tradable seafood in the world is USD 148 billion whereas India’s share of it is just 10 billion USD. So there is immense scope to increase it and value addition will be a key,” Sitharaman said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said his government was determined to make the state the aquaculture hub of not only India but also the world.
“By the year 2020, seafood export from AP will touch 4.2 million tonnes and by 2029 it will be 118 million tonnes. Rather than report of raw seafood, focus is now on processing and value addition that will yield higher returns in the international markets,” he said.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, MPEDA Chairman A Jayathilak, Visakhapatnam MP K Haribabu and others attended the event.