New Delhi : Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India organized a national webinar on “Promotion of frozen fish and fish products” on 29th November 2022 as a part of the ongoing celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The event was presided over by Shri Jatindra Nath Swain, Secretary, Department of Fisheries (DoF), Government of India (GOI) and was well-attended by entrepreneurs, fisheries associations, officials of the Department of Fisheries, GoI, and fisheries officials of different States/UTs, 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 Shri Sagar Mehra, Joint Secretary (Inland Fisheries). Shri Sagar 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 marginalized communities and enhance proliferation of fish businesses domestically. He particularly highlighted that enhancing domestic fish consumption should be India’s risk mitigation plan for assured sectoral growth in case of uncertainties in the global fish markets.
In the keynote address, Shri Jatindra Nath Swain, Secretary, DoF (GOI) highlighted making 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 hence the same quality frozen fish and fish products should be extended to the domestic market with the necessary labeling and certifications. Additionally, he emphasized exploring the utilization 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 Mr. G. S. Rath (Sr. General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Falcon Marine Exports Limited), Mr. A J Tharakan (Chairman, Amalgam Group of Companies), and Mr. Mathew Joseph (COO & Co-Founder, Fresh to Home) were invited to speak 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 panelists 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, low product availability, etc.
Further, the speakers emphasized 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 behavioral 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 organizing fish markets that can bring in price transparency, streamlined processes for quality and ease of doing business, etc.
Videos shown by the experts on industrial practices and questions taken up during the open forum made the session interactive and fruitful. Follow-up action points also came out from the insightful discussions to further develop sectoral strategies and action plans. The webinar concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Dr. S. K. Dwivedi, Assistant Commissioner (Fy), DoF to the chair, delegates, guest speakers, and participants.