INDIA - Odisha government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) to set up a laboratory for quality control of fish and fishery products, writes Jagdish Kumar for TheFishSite.
The ultra-modern laboratory that will come up on a half acre of land will be set up with an investment of $2.39 million (Rs 15 crore) at Kaushalyaganga near the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
Land for the laboratory will be provided by the government and it will help fish farmers of Odisha and West Bengal.
With 480 km of coast line, Odisha state has earned $284 million (Rs 1817 crore) from marine food products export during 2013-14 fiscal year.
The country share of marine exports during the period was at $4.73 billion (Rs 30,213.26 crore).
Pradeep Maharathy, fisheries minister who attended the MoU signing event said with the expansion of export trade, quality control has been a major concern for the food items all over the world and the state will benefit from the latest laboratory.
State fisheries secretary, BP Sethi said that with the expansion of export trade, at present quality control has been a major concern for the food items all over the world and establishment of quality Control Laboratory has been the need of the hour for sustainability of the aquaculture.
For better control and assurance of food safety, the quality parameters are to be identified and addressed separately.
The quality issues pertaining to seafood are due to pathogenic bacteria, aquaculture drugs, chemical contaminants and filth/decomposition.
Apart from this, MPEDA has set up three state of the art labs for carrying out the above task. Two of them are located in Andhra Pradesh and one in Kerela.
This laboratory will be able to analyze samples to detect the presence of residues and the setting up of the laboratory will help the farmers and exporters of fish and fishery products to test their samples conveniently and take corrective actions as and when required.
Establishment of the quality control laboratory will play a major role in generating employment, providing nutrients and earning foreign currency for the country.
One of the most important quality parameters insisted on by all major seafood importing countries is chemical residues (antibiotic & pesticides).
Some of them require the exporting country to have an effective residue control plan.
Some major importing countries have mandatory requirements of a test report from officially approved/accredited labs that confirm that chemical residues are absent or within permitted levels.
The standards/limits fixed for chemical residues are often nil or part per billion. These call for the setting up of a modern laboratory equipped with the latest high precision analytical instruments requiring heavy investment.
Fish consumption is going up in both developed and developing countries at a faster rate. Directly or indirectly, the livelihood of over 500 million people in developing countries is dependent on fisheries and aquaculture.
India's total fishery production is about 8.3 million tonnes from both capture and aquaculture during 2013-14.
TheFishSite News Desk