The Department of Fisheries, Government of India in association with Startup India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched the “Fisheries Startup Grand Challenge” on Thursday. The challenge aims to provide a platform to start-ups within India to showcase their innovative solutions within the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
Fisheries Startup Challenge and its problem statements
‘Fisheries Startup Challenge’ launched will be live for 45 days for submission of applications on the Start-up India portal – www.startupindia.gov.in. The following themes have been identified for the submission of problem statements under the Fisheries Startup Grand Challenge.
Design and develop technology/solutions for enhancing the productivity so that the fishers and fish farmers can achieve better price realisation
Develop infrastructure and post-harvest management solutions that will enable fishers, fish farmers in creating value addition, value creation and value realisation ensuring minimal wastage across the fisheries value chain
Develop business solutions and outreach activities that will make fish and fish products easily accessible, acceptable and popular among the meat consuming population in the country
Develop sustainable solutions to reduce/stop soil erosion, siltation of the water bodies and develop eco-friendly solutions for coastal fishers
The challenge is expected to foster start-up culture within the sector and to establish a strong foundation of the entrepreneurial model, the Department of Fisheries has earmarked funds to the tune of Rs. 3.44 crore for the challenge. The selected 12 winners of the challenge will be awarded a cash grant of Rs two lakh each to 10 shortlisted start-ups for translating their ‘Idea to PoC’. In the final round, a grant up to Rs 20 lakh (general category) and Rs 30 lakh (SC/ST/Women) will be provided to the winners for transforming their ideas into effective pilots which would further translate into commercialisation.
The launch event was attended by various stakeholders including key start-ups, industry experts, entrepreneurs, investors, incubators and policymakers.
At a macro level, through Fisheries Startup Grand Challenge and similar impactful activities, the department envisages inclusive growth within the sector through collaborative and cumulative efforts from various stakeholders.
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Speaking on the launch of the challenge, Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying stressed upon the enormous potential of the fisheries and aquaculture sector and its significance to the national economy. Launching the Fisheries Startup Grand Challenge, he urged the brilliant and enlightened young minds of India to use the Grand Challenge as a platform to showcase their solutions for resolving sectoral challenges. He also highlighted that the solutions should be devised for resolving issues across the fisheries value chain for increasing aquaculture productivity from the current national average of three tonnes to five tonnes per hectare, doubling export earnings and reducing post-harvest losses from 25 per cent to 10 per cent.
Dr. L. Murugan, Minister of State, Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying emphasised that the fisheries sector plays a vital role in the economic and overall development of the country. Referred to as the “sunrise sector”, fisheries sector is poised to bring in immense potential through equitable and inclusive growth. The sector is recognised as a powerful engine for providing employment to 14.5 million people and sustaining a livelihood for 28 million fishers and fishermen of the country. He urged that the young entrepreneurs of the country should thereby come forward and offer solutions to resolve on-ground challenges through technology interventions and innovative solutions.
The event started by opening remarks from Sagar Mehra, Joint Secretary (Inland Fisheries). In his address, he stressed upon ways to capitalise the young talent in the country for bringing in noble solutions in the fisheries sector. Dr. J. Balaji, Joint Secretary (Marine Fisheries) deliberated that the unrealised potential of the fisheries sector offers varied opportunities for bringing in scalable business solutions and maximising the benefits for the fishermen and fish farmers.
Jatinder Nath Swain, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, articulated that fisheries is one of the fastest-growing sectors amongst the primary producing sectors in India. However, in order to realise the true potential of the fisheries sector, technological breakthroughs are required for enhancing the production, productivity and efficiency of the fisheries value chain.