Wednesday, March 25, 2015

20% Rabi crops lost to Untimely Rains

20% Rabi crops lost to Untimely Rains
Even as prime minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made a fervent defence of the land acquisition bill in his monthly radio programme ‘Maan ki baat’, it is becoming clear that hundreds of farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of western Uttar Pradesh have suffered heavy rabi or winter crop losses due to spells of unseasonal rains, hailstorms and gusty winds over the past few days.
While the Ministry of Agriculture is assessing the extent of the damage to the standing rabi crops such as wheat, oil seeds, pulses and vegetables, the agrimet division of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said there would be 10 per cent drop in production. Analysts also said the minimum loss in rabi crops yield would climb up to at least 20 per cent.
The main rabi crops such as wheat, oil seeds, pulses and vegetables and fruits: grapes, mangoes, bananas, orange, apples, cashews, strawberries and mulberries have been damaged. However, this time we could predict inclement weather five days in advance to reach 80 lakh farmers across India through SMS via our kisan portal and other media agencies to take precautionary measures to contain damages.
Agriculture Ministry reports showed that standing crops in over 50 lakh hectares of land in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and West Bengal were destroyed.
This year the production of rabi crops would be down in the 10-20% minimum range as even government agencies in various states are assessing the extent of damage.
Because of this, the commodity market saw upper circuit movements in most of the traded rabi crops. The main rabi crops, which are widely reported to be under damage, are wheat, mustard and chana. Fruit and vegetable prices have also surged 15-50 per cent in many parts of the country.
Analysts said rabi accounts for 51 per cent of the country's grain output. Further confirmation of damage this has come in the Assocham-Skymet Weather joint report which while forecasting a normal monsoon across the country in 2015, said the damage to rabi crop due to unseasonal rains shall continue with a major spell of rainfall expected next month in north India, especially in the first week of April.

The agriculture sector, which contributes about 15 per cent to the country’s GDP but employs more than 50 per cent of the population, is highly dependent on monsoon rains as about 60 per cent of the cultivable area is rain-fed. The chance of a back-to-back drought is three per cent (2014 was a mild meteorological drought). Besides, there is still no clear signal about the emergence of an Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) this year during monsoon.
Last year, India faced 12 per cent deficient rainfall at the end of the four-month-long south-west monsoon season, which begins with onset of rains in Kerala, usually on June 1 and ends on September 30.
According to government estimates, country’s foodgrain production is expected to decline by 3.2 per cent to 257.07 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from the record 265.57 million tonnes in 2013-14. On the unseasonal rains, the study said: “More wet weather was in the offing in April and the damage to the rabi crop would continue. A major rainfall spell is expected in the first week of April in north India.”

Meanwhile, with opposition mounting campaign against the land acquisition bill, the prime minister reached out to farmers, telling them that "lies" are being spread over the measure for "political reasons" to create confusion among the farming community.

Aware of the vast influence wielded by the farming lobby, Modi insisted there were some "lacunae" in the Land Act of 2013 "as it was enacted in a hurry" and these are being addressed while protecting the interests of farmers and villages.
Referring to his statement in Parliament, Modi maintained that the government is willing to provide compensation to those farmers who have been hit by unseasonal rains this month. During the 30-minute programme, he underlined that the new bill being brought by his government has the same compensation provisions as in the 2013 Act and emphatically rejected that the new measure was aimed at benefiting private companies.

He also said that 'no consent' provision in the proposed new law applies to acquisitions by government for government or PPP projects and insisted that the same clause exists in the previous act.

Basmati Rice in India - Production & Export

Basmati Rice in India - Production & Export
by Sajad Ahmad Wani, Sachin Kumar Manhas and Pradyuman Kumar

Rice is a staple food in India.
Overall production of rice in India is 1,592,00,000 tonne (FAOSTAT 2013). According to a report available with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), it has been found that about 37.572 lakh tonne of basmati rice valued at Rs 29,299.96 crore in India was exported from April 2013 to March 2014.

In the previous season it was only about 34.59 lakh tonne of basmati rice that was exported for Rs 19,409.38 crore by the country's rice exporters. In 2013-14, among various states, Punjab had about 5.59 lakh hectare of area under basmati with annual production of about 14.871 lakh tonne, whereas in Haryana the area under the crop was 7.21 lakh hectare producing 18.90 lakh tonne.

In other words, the demand for biryani in the Middle-East has spurred basmati rice exports from India -- a huge rise of about Rs 9,890.588 crore in 2013-14 as compared to the previous year.  Basmati rice in India is highly favoured and got higher prices as compared to other types of rice in domestic as well as in global markets due to its special aroma, taste and flavour.

Uttaranchal has been reported to be the birthplace of basmati and has huge potential due to its favourable climatic conditions and popularity among the farming community. Basmati is nature’s gift to Indian sub-continent; its delightful aroma, taste and texture make it the best among various types of rices in the world.

Mostly basmati is cultivated on the foothills of Himalayas and the whole ambience of the environment bestowing unique properties to this specialty rice. All the festive occasions are complete only with products prepared from basmati such as biryani or pulao served tapping the inherent ambrosial properties of basmati.

Aromatic rice has been grown by Indian farmers for centuries and has been texted in ancient literature, apart from references to the rice diversity available in the country. A wide variety of aromatic rice diversity exists in the country and not all aromatic types are recognised as basmati.

Typically, the delicately curved, long grained, highly scented rice that is elongated and cooks soft and fluffy is the one which is categorised as basmati and enjoys privileged treatment both in domestic as well as international markets, fetching three times more price.

In the export markets, still the traditional tall basmati variety, Taroari Basmati followed by Basmati 370 and Type 3 (Dehradun) have supremacy over other varieties due to their exclusive quality features. However the evolved varieties of basmati are Pusa Basmati 1121 due to its extra long slender grains along with Pusa Basmati 1, which has carved a niche in the international market.

Rice exports from India
Rice is a staple food in Asia. Its production is also concentrated in Asia. Top ten largest rice producers - China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand are located in Asia. Among them, China and India supply nearly half of the total world rice production, Thailand and Vietnam are the two largest rice exporters (FAOSTAT 2012). Thailand and Vietnam in 2009 exported nearly 48% of total world milled rice exports (FAOSTAT 2012).

Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cote d’Ivoire, Iran, Iraq, Cameroon, Brazil, China and Yemen are the 10 largest importers of milled rice. Although most of the largest importers of milled rice in terms of quantity are located in Asia and South Africa, the import values of milled rice in (United Kingdom 10th) and (France 7th) are among the largest in the world (FAOSTAT 2012).

Basmati rice is exported from India to many countries, especially to the Gulf and European countries. Recognising its important role in India’s economy, it has been reported that 24 districts of India have been declared as Basmati Export Zone from Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Punjab. In Uttaranchal, districts exporting including Udhamsinghnagar, Haridwar, Nainital and Dehradun have been made part of the Basmati Export Zone.

Basmati rice is one of the major exports of India. The values and quantities of Basmati rice are accounted for almost all rice exports from India. As said earlier, major export markets of Indian basmati rice include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran. About 70% of export of basmati rice is for these three countries from India. Although the exports of basmati rice from India to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK and the US have decreased during the past few years, but exports to Iran, Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq and the Netherlands have increased. This implies that not only the Middle-Eastern countries have preferences towards basmati rice, but the preferences seem to increase in recent years.

The steady increase in production of rice and availability of buffer stocks and the growing demand for basmati rice in the international market made India an important rice exporting country of the world.

Fourth position
In the year 2008-09, India has been reported to export about 2.48 mt of rice earning about Rs 11,164 crore. Among the several agro products exported from India, rice alone constituted 30.75% of foreign exchange in the year 2008-09 and India ranks at the fourth position for the export of rice after USA, Thailand, and Vietnam. For a long time before India was not a rice exporting country, success in the production and productivity gains had enabled the country since mid-1980s to attain self-sufficiency in rice.
Exporters from India entered into the world rice trade largely through the export of small quantities of highly priced basmati rice which was less than 5% in mid-1980s. In fact, the worldwide rice trade at that time was also less, only about 4%, which was 11.9 mt of the world rice production of 265.9 mt (on milled rice basis). The quantum of world rice trade also doubled to 27.90 mt by 2001 and to 29 mt by 2008 of which India’s share was around 8.62% while in 2006-07 it was highest (19.8%) (Table 1).

Total rice exports from India were mere 0.38 mt in 1987-88, which grew to 0.53 mt in 1990-91 and elevated to a record scale of 5.51 mt in 1995-96. Later on, it dropped to around 2 mt during 2001 and again rose to 6.46 mt in 2007-08 that is 12 times increase over the quantum India exported in 1990-91.
Similarly the value too rose from Rs 456 crore in 1992 to Rs 11,164 crore in 2008-09 which is a spectacular 24 times increase in foreign exchange earnings. During the last five years, India was within the first five rice exporting countries with Thailand consistently ranking first in world rice exports with 10 mt in 2008. Major contribution by various countries for rice exports include Vietnam (4.65 mt), USA (3.50 mt), India (3.30 mt), Pakistan (3.0 mt), China (0.95 mt), Uruguay (0.78 mt) and others (4.02 mt) (USDA 2008) (Figure 3). Major rice importing countries are South Africa, Nigeria, the Philippines, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the EU, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Ivory Coast.
Table 1: World rice exports - contribution by Asia and India’s share (million tonne)
India’s share to world Rice Exports (%)

Areas under cultivation
The cultivation of basmati in India is confined to traditional basmati growing areas in northwest Indian states including Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh and to a limited area in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Cultivation of basmati rice in local area is encountered in Jind, Panipat, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Kaithal, Sonipat, Yamuna Nagar and Ambala districts in Haryana as shown in Table 2. In Punjab, the areas where it is grown includes Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Patiala, Jalander, Ropar, Nawan, Hoshiarpur, Fatehgarh Sahib and Shehar; in Uttarakhand the districts include Dehradun, Udhamsingh Nagar, Nainital, Haridwar, Saharanpur, Rampur, Bijnor, Pilibhit, Badaun, Moradabad and Muzzaffar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh; Kangra, Solan, Mandi, Kullu and Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh; and Jammu and Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir.

Of the 25 to 29 mt of rice traded annually in the world market, basmati rice market is less than 10%. But basmati rice captures higher returns as it is priced three times higher (US$ 800-1200 per metric tonne) over non-basmati rice (US$200-400 per metric tonne) in the domestic as well as international markets.

Combination of factors
Nearly 50-70% of basmati rice produced in the country is exported mainly to Saudi Arabia (about 68%), the UAE, UK, Bahrain, Kuwait and so on. In 1978-79, India started exporting with a small beginning and exported about 67,000 tonne of basmati rice earning about Rs 32 crore.
A combination of factors were responsible for India to reach this pinnacle as one of the world’s major rice exporter which include the research efforts in developing suitable varieties and farm management practices which were largely adopted by the farmers. In addition, appropriate steps taken by the government to liberalise trade policy and licensing procedures so as to promote the growth of agricultural exports, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) and APEDA made the efforts and play a major role in promoting Indian agri-exports and the zeal of the exporters in establishing themselves as reliable and dependable suppliers of basmati and non-basmati rice.
Table 2: Major Basmati growing districts in India
Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Patiala, Ropar, Nawan Shehar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur

Haridwar, Dehradun, Nainital, Udhamsingh Nagar

Uttar Pradesh
Pilibhit, Saharanpur, Rampur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Muzzaffarnagar, Badaun

Panipat, Karnal, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Jind, Ambala, Sonipat, Yamunanagar

International scenario
In the international market, rice is traded under two main groups such as fragrant and non- fragrant. The fragrant rice in India dominates the trade with its basmati rice followed by Pakistan. It fetches good export price in the international markets. Export of basmati from India peaks during March-April period and the November-December period. Main export is the Gulf region for Indian basmati rice and in Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia accounts for the major chunk of basmati imports from India. The next important market for Indian basmati rice is the European Union (EU). On an average roughly about 1.0-1.5 lakh tonne of basmati rice is bought by the EU.

(The authors - Wani is research scholar; Sachin Manhas is M Tech; and Pradyuman Kumar is associate professor; Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Longowal. They can be contacted at

Economic Survey emphasizes need to improve agricultural productivity

Economic Survey emphasizes need to improve agricultural productivity
This is the fourth highest quantity of annual Foodgrains production in the country. Despite deficiency of 12 % in the monsoon rainfall during the year, the loss in production has been restricted to just around 3 % over the previous year and has exceeded the average production during the last five years by 8.15 million tonnes.
As compared to last year’s production of 265.57 million tonnes, current year’s production of Foodgrains is lower by 8.5 million tonnes. This decline has occurred on account of lower production of rice, coarse cereals and pulses due to erratic rainfall conditions during the monsoon season of 2014.

According to the new series of national income released by the CSO, at 2011-12 prices, the share of agriculture and allied sectors in total GDP is 18% in 2013-14 which is the same as that of 2012-13 i.e., 18%.   As against a growth target of 4% for agriculture and allied sectors in the Twelfth Plan, the growth registered in the first year in 2012-13 (at 2011-12 prices) was 1.2%, 3.7% in 2013-14 and 1.1% in 2014-15.

As per the fourth Advance Estimates for 2013-14, the production of rice is expected to be 106.5 million tonnes, showing an increase of 1.3% over the previous year.  The Production of wheat is likely to be 95.9 million tonnes with an increase of 2.6% over the previous year.  Similarly, pulses with a production of 19.3 million tonnes show an increase of 5.3%.  The oilseeds production of 32.9 million tonnes shows an increase of 6.4%.  Within oilseeds, the groundnut production of 9.7 million tonnes show a commendable increase of 105.8% over the previous year.

As per the fourth Advance Estimates for 2013-14, the overall productivity of Foodgrains has gone down by 1.3% over the previous year.  Rice productivity has shown a decline of 1.5% and wheat of 1.3% in the same year.  The yield of groundnut increased by a remarkable 75.9%, that of Tur increased by 9.2% and cotton by 9.4% in 2013-14 over the previous year.

Among the states, for the year 2013-14, Punjab has shown the highest productivity of rice (3952 kg/ha), wheat (5017 kg/ha) and cotton.  Gujarat has shown the maximum productivity of groundnut (2668 kg/ha) and West Bengal of Sugarcane (114273 kg/ha).

The Economic Survey 2014-15 states that to improve resilience of the agricultural sector and bolster food security--including availability and affordable access, the strategy for agriculture has to focus on improving yield and productivity.

Monsoon in 2015 likely to remain NORMAL

Monsoon in 2015 likely to remain NORMAL
India is likely to witness a normal monsoon across the country in 2015, but rainfall in some pockets might be deficient, says a study.
According to the Assocham-Skymet Weather joint report, the damage to Rabi crop due to unseasonal rains shall continue and a major spell of rainfall is expected nex tmonth in North India, especially in the first week of April.
“Forecast of normal Monsoon this year seems distributed uniformly throughout the country. However, some pockets that might be deficient (by a narrow margin) include Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Marathwada, Rayalseema, South Interior Karnataka, North Tamil Nadu and parts of the North East,” the report said.
The agriculture sector, which contributes about 15 per cent to the country’s GDP but employs more than 50 per cent of the population, is highly dependent on monsoon rains as about 60 per cent of the cultivable area is rain-fed.
The chance of a back-to-back drought is three per cent (2014 was a mild meteorological drought). Besides, there is still no clear signal about the emergence of an Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) this year during Monsoon.
Last year, India faced 12 per cent deficient rainfall last year at the end of the four-month-long south-west monsoon season, which begins with onset of rains in Kerala, usually on June 1 and ends on September 30.
According to government estimates, country’s foodgrain production is expected to decline by 3.2 per cent to 257.07 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from the record 265.57 million tonnes in 2013-14.
On the unseasonal rains this month, the study said: “More wet weather was in the offing in April and the damage to the Rabi crop would continue. A major rainfall spell is expected in the first week of April in North India.”
Unseasonal rains this month have destroyed standing rabi crop in various states across the country and has led to the opposition demanding a relief package from the government.
Last week, Minister of State for Agriculture Mohanbhai Kundaria had told Rajya Sabha that unseasonal rains and hailstorms in various parts during March have “adversely affected” the production of Rabi crops.
Unseasonal rains and hailstorms have affected crops in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Wheat, mustard and gram are the major Rabi (winter-sown) crops.

Fisheries - Production, Export, Quality-check

Fisheries - Production, Export, Quality-check
                                      By Gulzar Ahmad Nayik, Shumaila Jan and Romee Jan
Fish industry is a major industry in coastal states of India employing over 14 million people. India is the second-largest producer of fish in the world contributing to 5.43% of global fish production. The country is also a major producer of fish through aquaculture and ranks second in the world after China. The total fish production during 2012-13 (provisional) is 90.62 lakh tonne with a contribution of 56.32 lakh tonne from inland sector and 34.30 lakh tonne from marine sector.

Fish production in India has increased more than tenfold since its freedom from British rule in 1947. As per the data available from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, fish output in India doubled between 1990 and 2010. India has 8,118 km of marine coastline, 3,827 fishing villages, and 1,914 traditional fish landing centres. India's fresh water resources consist of 195,210 km of rivers and canals, 2.9 million hectare of minor and major reservoirs, 2.4 million hectare of ponds and lakes, and about 0.8 million hectare of flood plain wetlands and water bodies. The top three fish producing states in India (2012-13) include: Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat with a production of 16.7 lakh tonne, 14. 9 lakh tonne and 8.48 lakh tonne respectively. According to estimates of Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), the values of GDP from fisheries sector at current price during 2009-10 was 52,363 crore which is 4.85 per cent of the total GDP of agriculture and allied sectors. Some of the major freshwater fish species are as follows: Catla, Rohu, Mrigal, Calbasu Silver carp, Grass carp, Common carp, Murrels, Hilsa (inland), Penaeid shrimp while some marine fish species are categorised as follows: 
  • Pelagic fishes – High-value (PHV): Seerfish, oceanic tunas (yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna), large carangids (Caranx sp.), pomfrets, pelagic sharks, mullets
  • Pelagic fishes – Low-value (PLV): Sardines, mackerel, anchovies, Bombayduck, coastal tunas, scads, horse mackerel, barracudas
  • Demersal fishes – High-value (DHV): Rock cods, snappers, lethrinids, big-jawed jumper (Lactarius), threadfins (Polynemids)
  • Demersal fishes – Low-value (DLV): Rays, silverbellies, lizard fishes, catfishes, goat fishes, nemipterids, soles
  • Crustaceans – High-value (Shrimp): Shrimps, lobsters
  • Molluscs and others (Molluscs): Cephalopods (squids, cuttlefishes and octopus), mussels, oysters, non-penaeid prawns, and so on.
Economic benefits:
In India, fisheries sector plays a vital role in the socio-economic development. It has been recognised as a powerful sector in augmenting national income through exports, enhancing food and nutritional security and supporting employment generation as it stimulates growth of a number of subsidiary industries, and is a source of cheap and nutritious food besides being a foreign exchange earner. Most importantly, it is one of the cheap sources of livelihood for a large section of economically underprivileged population of the country. The main challenges facing fisheries development in the country includes accurate data on assessment of fishery resources and their potential in terms of fish production, development of sustainable technologies for fin and shell fish culture, yield optimisation, harvest and post-harvest operations, landing and berthing facilities for fishing vessels and welfare of fishermen. 

Seafood exports:
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) is a statutory agency under the ministry of commerce & industry, Government of India. MPEDA is the nodal agency for promotion of export of marine products from India. During the financial year 2013-14, exports of marine products reached an all-time high of US$5007.70 million. Exports aggregated to 9,83,756 MT valued at Rs 30,213.26 crore and US$5,007.70 million. As compared to last year, seafood exports recorded a high growth of 5.98% in quantity, 60.23% in rupee and 42.6% growth in US$ earnings respectively. 

Exports during 2013-14 compared to 2012-13 
Export details
Growth %
Quantity Tonne
Value Rs crore
Value US$ Million

Major items of export:
Fish has retained its position as the principal export item in quantity terms and the second-largest export item in value terms, accounting for a share of about 32.97% in quantity and 14.15% in US$ earnings. Frozen shrimp continued to be one of the major leading export value items contributing a share of 64.12% of the total US$ earnings. Shrimp exports during the period increased by 31.85%, 99.54% and 78.06% in quantity, rupee value and US$ value respectively. There was an all-time high growth in unit value realisation of frozen shrimp at 35.05%. The export of Vannamei has shown tremendous growth from 91,171 MT to 1.75 lakh MT and US$1,994.27 million from 731.01 million compared to 2012-13. 44.59% of total Vannamei shrimp was exported to USA followed by 17.07% to the EU, 16.54% to south-east Asian countries and 4.01% to Japan in terms of US$.

Major export markets:
South-east Asia continued to be the largest buyer of Indian marine products with a share of 26.38% in terms of US$ value realisation. USA is the second-largest market with a share of 25.68% followed by the European Union (EU) (20.24%), Japan (8.21%), other countries (8.20%), China (5.85%) and the Middle-East (5.45%. Export to the Middle-East countries has shown good growth of 40.13%, 43.65% and 30.29% in terms of quantity, value and dollar terms respectively. Marine products were exported through 26 sea/air/land ports. Exports improved from Vizag, Chennai, Krishnapatnam, Tuticorin and Mangalore compared to the corresponding period during the last year. Pipavav is major port in terms of quantity (25.27%) and Vizag is major port in terms of dollar value (22.59%).

Law and regulations:
At the central level, several key laws and regulations are relevant to fisheries and aquaculture. These include :
1. British-era Indian Fisheries Act (1897) penalises the killing of fish by poisoning water and by using explosives
2. Environment (Protection) Act (1986) being an umbrella Act containing provisions for all environment-related issues affecting fisheries and aquaculture industry in India
3. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1974)
4. Wild Life Protection Act (1972) 
5. 1955 Amendment to Land Reform Act, 1974 making land leasing for aquaculture
an exception
6. 1997 Court Directive to establish a Coastal Zone Management Authority to
enforce the principle of ‘precaution’ and ‘polluter pays’
7. Constitution of Aquaculture Authority to issue licence for traditional and improved
aquaculture within Coastal Regulated Zone (CRZ) 1997
8. Restriction on use of certain chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides and explosives, as
per Government of India Notification 2002 

All these legislations must be read in conjunction with one another, and with the local laws of a specific state, to gain a full picture of the law and regulations that are applicable to fisheries and aquaculture in India.

Important initiatives by Govt of India towards development of aquaculture
Establishment of National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) in September 2006
  • Established Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) for regulation of coastal aquaculture activities
  • Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Inland Fisheries & Aquaculture 8,04,753 ha of water area has been developed for pisciculture; 9,44,727 number of fish farmers were trained
  • Under Fish Farmers Development Agency (FFDA) for aquaculture, more than 13 lakh fish farmers have been given financial incentives. In addition, assistance was provided for development of 8,000 hectare of ponds and tanks for undertaking intensive aquaculture through National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)
  • With a view to promote production of Sashimi grade tuna, fish processing facility of National Institute of Fish Post Harvest Technology and Training (NIFPHATT), a subordinate office of department of animal husbandry, dairying & fisheries, ministry of agriculture, at Kochi and Visakhapatnam has been modernised at an investment of . 2.40 crore and 1.85 crore respectively.
  • Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) on Marine Fisheries seven major fishing harbours (FHs), 45 minor fishing harbours and 180 fish landing centres (FLCs) have been constructed and commissioned. Besides, another 25 minor FHs and 16 FLCs are under construction.
Packaged frozen fish food
As soon as a fish dies, spoilage of fish begins which is rather a complex process and is caused by a number of inter-related systems like degradation of protein with a subsequent formation of various products like hypoxanthine, trimethylamine, development of oxidative rancidity and the action of microorganisms. Freezing and frozen storage of fish can give a storage life of more than one year, if properly carried out. By lowering the temperature of the dead fish, spoilage can be retarded and, if the temperature is kept low enough, spoilage can be almost stopped. The freezing process alone is not a method of preservation. It is merely the means of preparing the fish for storage at a suitably low temperature. As soon as fish are removed from a freezer, they should be glazed or wrapped (unless they have been packaged before freezing) and immediately transferred to a low temperature store. After fish has been frozen, it can be subjected to many forms of deterioration between production and eventual consumption.
The variety of species, processes, methods of presentation and packaging available provide scope for preparation of numerous frozen fish products. Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) products are frozen as single units which need not be thawed for sub-division or perhaps even for cooking purposes. IQF single fillets and shrimp are two products of this type.
The demand for IQF products has increased with the upsurge in the number of low temperature "freezer" cabinets both in catering establishments and in the home. IQF freezing allows for the purchase of a frozen product in bulk and the selection from storage of only sufficient quantities to meet immediate requirements.
Other products such as blocks of fish and fish portions usually packaged in cartons are also produced for direct consumption without the need for reprocessing. The range of packaging material for frozen fish is very wide and is dependent on the form of the product being packed. Primary packaging includes plastics like polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene, polyethylene and so on. Cartons are also used like kraft boards, folding box boards and recycled fibre boards. Secondary packaging is usually a carton which holds a number of primary packages. The secondary package is usually made from boards but can be bands of paper or plastic. Tertiary packaging is used to hold a number of secondary packages. Tertiary packaging may be palletised for easy handling and wrapped with shrink, stretch wrap or corrugated outers or may be packed in reusable containers.
(The authors are research scholars at department of food engineering & technology, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology, Longowal, Punjab. They can be contacted at, or