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Second-biggest per capita fish consumer, Tripura seeks to cut imports

The state with a population of 37 lakh consumes 25 kg of fish per person on an average every year.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
Updated: December 14, 2021 5:33:15 pm
TripuraOf Tripura's demand of 92,500 metric tonnes of fish a year, 23% is met from outside. (File photo)

TRIPURA consumes the largest amount of fish per capita annually than any other part of India after the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Almost one-fourth of that demand is met from other states or neighbouring Bangladesh.

Conveying these numbers, Tripura Fisheries Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia Monday said the state is trying to boost its fish production through initiatives such as biofloc (a method of fish rearing) and pisciculture.

The state with a population of 37 lakh consumes 25 kg of fish per person on an average every year. The national average is 18 kg, Jamatia said. Of Tripura’s demand of 92,500 metric tonnes (MT) of fish a year, 23% is met from outside.

In 2002-03, Tripura set a 10-year target for food self-sufficiency. However, by 2012-13, the state produced barely 58,655 MT of fish annually.

The Left Front government at the time then set a new target for self-sufficiency in food production by 2020. However, despite repeated attempts, the state has failed to cut down on its import dependency for food.

Developments in Bangladesh often affect the supply of fish in Tripura. In October this year, for example, Tripura received a 2,000 kg consignment of the much-in-demand ilish from Bangladesh in such quantity and quality for the first time in 10 years, following a ban on exports by the country.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb last year promised that his government would double the income of farmers and poultry farmers through intensive cultivation and introduction of high-yielding varieties.

On Monday, Jamatia announced a new lease policy for the estimated 1,502 government-owned water bodies in the state, promising “sustainable use” and scientific fish rearing. The minister said the water bodies are spread over an area of 645.54 hectares. “Most of them are not utilised for pisciculture. However, these water bodies can be used to increase fish production, which will generate employment too.”

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