Thursday, July 25, 2024

CM: Fisheries to become driver for rural employment


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Shillong: With the aim of increasing fish production in the State, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said the State Government will soon transform the Fisheries department into a key department.

“The Government will make substantial investments in the fisheries sector in the State to improve the GDP and also to provide substantial livelihood opportunities to rural poor farmers and marginalised sections of society,” Dr Mukul said during the one-day workshop on the theme ‘Development of the Inland Fishery and Aquaculture in Meghalaya’ here on Thursday.

He also informed that the Government has increased the funds allocation of the department from Rs 2 crore to Rs 37.40 crore under the Special Plan Assistance in 2010-11 to give a fillip to the department’s ongoing activities and also to provide a new thrust to the Integrated Basin Development Programme.

The Chief Minister announced that his Government is preparing to launch an Aquaculture Mission for the State of Meghalaya which envisages major investment in the fisheries sector in Meghalaya with the mission mode approach.

Dr Sangma later released the Discussion paper on Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission on which people are invited to give their comments and feedback after which it will be finalized by August 15 this year and implemented from April 2012.

Speaking about Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme, his pet project, Dr Sangma said efforts were on to make livelihoods in the rural areas attractive by creating and ensuring opportunities thereby minimising the migration of the rural population to the urban areas. The Chief Minister also expressed confidence that with the cooperation and sensitisation of the people and all stakeholders, fisheries will contribute in a major way to the State’s economy and Meghalaya would emerge as a major fish exporter in the country.

Chief Secretary WMS Pariat in his speech said the workshop is an indication that Government is keen to promote the fisheries sector which has a substantive potential in the State considering the rich natural resources and abundance of water bodies.

He however lamented that there is a substantial gap between the demand and supply of fish in the State which if aggressively promoted would definitely promote economic growth.

The Chief Executive, National Fisheries Development Board Dr P Krishnaiah in his brief speech assured that the NFDB would provide all necessary support and assistance to the Government of Meghalaya in terms of grants, infrastructure, human resource development to both officials and fish farmers.

He also said that to promote the fisheries sector in the State, intensification of production, diversification of species and disease management are of utmost importance for the Government to consider.

Meanwhile, as per official figures, at present the average per capita annual consumption of fish in the State is 3 kg per person. This is in sharp contrast to the national figure which is 6 kg per person per annum. In the US the per capita consumption of fish is 27 kg. The WHO prescription for per capita fish consumption is 4.69 kg per person per annum.

With the estimated population of 26.89 lakh in 2007, the consumption would be about 16,000 metric tonnes.

The current production of fish is around 6000 metric tonnes which clearly shows a gap of 10,000 metric tonnes. This gap is currently being filled up by imports from Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.




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