India aims to double the marine product exports to Rs. One lakh crore from the present above Rs. 50,000 crore within the next five years, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal said in Kochi today.
“This target will be achieved through sustainable fishing, ensuring quality and variety, promotion of coastal shipping and aquaculture, and by supporting the entire fisheries ecosystem,’ said Shri Goyal, addressing media persons at the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Kochi. Shri K.N. Raghavan, Chairman, MPEDA, presented a road map to achieve the export turnover of Rs 1 lakh crore.
Shri Goyal said that the Free Trade Agreements have been finalized with UAE and Australia, while negotiations are in progress for such an agreement with UK and Canada. The Minister said negotiations to reach an FTA with the EU will begin in Brussels on the 17th of this month. He said the effort was to provide market access and new opportunities for the country's exporters and consequently give fishermen a better future.
The Minister also ruled out the possibility of shifting the MPEDA office from Kochi.Earlier, the Minister had an interaction with Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) at MPEDA and had an extensive discussion on various issues, challenges and solutions facing the sector.
He also met with fishermen from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karnataka. The Minister assured interventions from the Ministry to minimize the hurdles on the import of raw materials for value addition so that India can be transformed to a seafood processing hub in the near future.
Goyal urged the exporters to educate, assist and encourage fishermen to follow sustainable measures in fishing and also to preserve the quality of the catch so that it will fetch better returns. Indian missions abroad have been geared up to help exporters in expanding their trade, he added.
The Minister also had a discussion with stakeholders of the Rubber Sector at MPEDA. He assured the government’s support for the further development of the sector and exhorted all stakeholders to work towards making India self-sufficient in rubber.
He reiterated the need for increase in production and productivity to bridge the gap between production and consumption of rubber in the country. Shri K.N. Raghavan, Executive Officer, Rubber Board presented the road map for making India self-sufficient in rubber production.
Shri Goyal later visited the Spices Board Office in Kochi and interacted with various stakeholders. Various issues pertaining to spices and their exports were discussed. The Union Minister urged stakeholders to rely on quality and value for sustainable growth.A. G. Thankappan, Chairman, Spices Board and Shri D Sathyan, Secretary, Spices Board were present on the occasion.