India-produced organic shrimp will cater for EU market
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During the India International Seafood Show held in Goa in January 2018, the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with M/s COOP Cooperative, Switzerland, for the development of organic aquaculture in India with an objective to tap the growing EU market for organic marine products.
The MoC was signed on January 28, 2018 by Dr A Jayathilak, IAS, Chairman, MPEDA and Gerhard Zurlutter, Member of Management, COOP, Switzerland. The other stakeholders involved with this pilot project are Kochi based firms, Baby Marine International and Jass Ventures Pvt Ltd, and their roles respectively are to organise the supply chain and process the produce through organic methods, for marketing by COOP Cooperative.
“Jass Ventures will be working as a farmers’ representative. Our main function will be to work as mentor for the organic farmers—help them with the implementation of ICS (Internal Control System) and organic standards, and also provide them with guidance on adequate organic farming methods and inputs,” says Anil Sasidharan, Director, Jass Ventures Pvt Ltd.
The project will be run in the state of Kerala to produce Organic Black Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus monodon) initially in an area of about 1,000 ha during the proposed period of 3 years. MPEDA proposes to launch a pilot level demonstration project in a traditional filtration farm near Kochi shortly, in order to demonstrate the techno economic feasibility of organic farming in the state.
M/s COOP, which has nearly 2,200 sales outlets throughout Switzerland and wholesale/production business across Europe, has offered to procure the processed organic shrimp from India at a premium price. Under the project, MPEDA will assist in identifying entrepreneurs and providing them with technical guidance on the production of high quality organic shrimp that meets national and international certification protocols.
An Expression of Interest (EoI) will be released in this connection so interested shrimp farmers from Kerala can participate in the project. The farmer members for this project will be selected after due inspection of their farm sites in order to ascertain the suitability of the proposed farm locations to adopt organic production methods. The selected farmers will be imparted training on organic principles of farming, as well as, on certification standards.
The organic certification standards for aquaculture under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) will be followed initially, and subsequently, the project will acquire market specific international organic certifications such as Naturland Organic and Bio Suisse Organic.
The black tiger shrimp hatchery being constructed by MPEDA at Vallarpadam, near Kochi, is to be certified for organic production of seeds, so as to source organic shrimp seeds. A small scale feed mill will be empanelled for supply of organic shrimp feed for the project. Upon successful implementation, the programme is proposed to be extended to other locations across India.
This article is first published in Pure & Eco India, an Indian print magazine focusing on South Asia’s organic sector, and www.pureecoindia.in its digital representation.