Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Aug 30, 2002
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Money & Banking - General Insurance
Expert panel moots insurance for aqua farms
CHENNAI, Aug 29
IMPROVED access to banking and insurance for shrimp farms and hatcheries, review of funding policy for aquaculture, model legislation for aquaculture and expediting licensing procedures are among the recommendations that followed the two-day expert consultation on aquaculture.
At the concluding session of the expert consultation on development of sustainable aquaculture, here on Thursday, experts called for reopening of the dialogue between the Union Ministry of Agriculture and the general insurance companies to enable insurance coverage for shrimp farms and hatcheries. This was crucial to improved access of funding for aquaculture projects by banks and other financial institutions, they said.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) should review funding policy regarding the aquaculture and call for a meeting with the Ministries concerned, the Aquaculture Authority of India, the State Governments and the industry.
The consultation was organised by the Aquaculture Authority to identify core issues concerning sustainable development of shrimp culture and adopt a strategy within the framework of the directives of the Supreme Court on shrimp farming. Representatives from the coastal States and Union Territories made a presentation on the status of the industry and the issues that need to be tackled.
Licensing and regulation, development of qualified human resource, environment friendly and good management practices, diversification of shrimp species under culture and information networking were among the other issues discussed and recommendations framed. The recommendations are to be forwarded to the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Governments.
The Aquaculture Authority has called for regulation of hatcheries with particular reference to obtaining quality shrimp seeds and a legislation to set standards for various inputs including the seed and feed.
In the industry's estimate just a fraction of the farms in operation have applied for licensing by the authority. To expedite the process the State Governments were urged to launch a concerted campaign to encourage shrimp farmers to apply for formal approval. With more than 90 per cent of the shrimp farms of less than two hectares, individual licensing of farms presented practical difficulties. The experts have urged that the authority should explore the option of licensing of farms within the context of coastal plans and zoning of areas for aquaculture, particularly in areas dominated by small farms.
Another recommendation called for the inclusion of aquaculture as a component in the macro-level planning of coastal zones, micro-level planning should look at carrying capacity studies and development of such models for wider application in coastal areas, and clustering of farms and aquaculture estates.
Information networking would help improve information dissemination about good management practices, enable surveillance for disease outbreak and establish early warning systems. Marketing information could also be enhanced for the benefit of the farmers.
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