MPEDA ropes in Swiss company for organic aqua-farming
Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has tied with a Swiss firm to develop organic aqua farming to help meet the growing demand for organic seafood from Europe. A Jayathilak, Chairman, MPEDA, today signed an agreement in this regard with Gerhard Zurlutter, Member of Management, Coop Cooperative. Under the project, MPEDA will assist in identifying entrepreneurs and provide them with technical advice on producing high-quality organic shrimps that meet national and international certification protocols. Coop, which currently has nearly 2,200 sales outlets throughout Switzerland and wholesale/production business active across Europe, has offered to procure the processed organic shrimps at a premium of up to 15 per cent and with an additional 5 per cent through financing for development activities, including training. "The reason why many farmers are hesitant to get into organic farming is the increased costs The premium price offered will offset the extra cost and incentivise them to explore organic farming," said Jayathilak. "Our cooperation with Coop covers the entire value chain and we hope that farmers and entrepreneurs would come forward and take this opportunity to be linked to consumers abroad," Jayathilak said. The pilot project will be run in Kerala to farm Organic Black Tiger Shrimps (Penaeu) initially in an area of about 1000 hectares, and if successful, it will be extended to other locations. MPEDA and the Swiss firm will facilitate certification of shrimp hatcheries apart from certifying and empanelling feed mill units to source organic feed for the project. Zurlutter, who is also the Head of Projects and Overseas Buying Frozen Products at his company, said India would be their second leg in organic farming after Vietnam, where they have had success with similar project.
By BOA Bureau