Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India organised a national webinar on “Promotion of frozen fish and fish products” on November 29, 2022 as a part of the ongoing celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
The event was presided over by Jatindra Nath Swain, Secretary, Department of Fisheries (DoF), and was attended by entrepreneurs, fisheries associations, officials of the Department of Fisheries, and fisheries officials of different states and union territories, faculties from state agriculture, veterinary and fisheries universities, fisheries research institutes, fisheries cooperative officers, scientists, students and stakeholders from fisheries across the country.
The webinar started with the welcome address by Sagar Mehra, Joint Secretary (Inland Fisheries). Mehra briefly discussed the current status of the Indian fisheries sector, the flagship scheme of the DoF, (GoI) Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), and the importance of enhancing domestic fish consumption to ensure nutritional support to marginalised communities and enhance the proliferation of fish businesses domestically. He particularly highlighted that improving domestic fish consumption should be India’s risk mitigation plan for assured sectoral growth in case of uncertainties in the global fish markets.
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In the keynote address, Jatindra Nath Swain, highlighted the production of frozen fish and fish products accessible to broaden the consumer base and importantly to work on building trust amongst consumers for selling frozen fish and fish products. In order to build on consumer trust, he advised that as current exporters follow stringent quality requirements, the same quality frozen fish and fish products should be extended to the domestic market with the necessary labelling and certifications. Additionally, he emphasised exploring the utilisation of the existing supply chain of other products for increasing accessibility to consumers in urban, semi-urban, and interior areas.
For the technical session, industry experts GS Rath, Sr. General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Falcon Marine Exports; AJ Tharakan, Chairman, Amalgam Group of Companies; and Mathew Joseph, COO & Co-founder, Fresh to Home spoke on market trends, consumer insights, and technologies used for processing of frozen fish and fish products. While discussing the current market scenario and technologies involved, the panellists also highlighted on-ground challenges pertaining to low consumers’ preference for frozen fish as compared to fresh fish, fragmented supply chain, low positioning of frozen fish and fish products in the consumer market and low product availability.
Further, the speakers emphasised the opportunity areas and recommended strategies to move forward. This included developing market campaigns for frozen fish and fish products through generating consumer awareness and behavioural change communication campaigns, setting up processing plants for reducing transactional costs, harnessing the ready-to-eat (RTE) and ready-to-cook (RTC) consumer base, developing policies around organising fish markets that can bring in price transparency, streamlined processes for quality and ease of doing business.
Videos shown by the experts on industrial practices and questions taken up during the open forum made the session interactive. Follow-up action points also came out from the discussions to further develop sectoral strategies and action plans.