Kochi: Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said the role of middlemen should be reduced to ensure that economic benefits from both capture fisheries and aquaculture reach fishermen and those involved in fish farming.
"Currently, much of the economic benefits from capture fisheries and aquaculture are not going to the farmers," the vice-president said, inaugurating the 11th Indian Fisheries And Aquaculture Forum, here.
Urging the scientific community to focus on areas which will improve the economic condition of farmers, he expressed hope that their knowledge will enhance the fishing communities' economic returns and transform their lives in Asia.
"A number of interventions are needed. We must, for example, reduce the role of middlemen, provide crop insurances, enhance access to credit, develop cold chains and good upcountry market linkages, provide infrastructure for post-harvest storage, handling and value addition," he said.
Naidu said India was doing "exceedingly well in aquaculture", especially freshwater aquaculture sector, and achieving an unparalleled annual growth rate of 6-7 per cent since last three decades.
"I urge the scientists to lay greater emphasis on the issues of diversification, water requirement and disease problems," the vice-president said.
He said the government of India has set for itself a goal of doubling the income of those engaged in fish farming.
Naidu said all essential technological support is being provided by the eight Fisheries Research Institutes under Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), several other mandated organizations like the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and numerous NGOs such as the Asian Fisheries Society Indian Branch (AFSIB).
"However, much more needs to be done to spread awareness and provide services to the farmers. Fisheries and Aquaculture are multi-disciplinary subjects where scientists and technologists have to work as teams," he said.
Naidu said scientific gatherings should focus not only on sharing information on science and technologies.
"There should be a conscious effort to convey this knowledge to the common people, fish farmers and primary producers," he said.
The vice-president said the future would be brighter and fish farmers would be happier when all the technologies developed by the scientists are made use of by them.
He said fisheries was close to his heart.
"A great part of my public life has been entwined with activities related to the welfare of the coastal people in my home state, Andhra Pradesh," he said.
Kerala governor P Sathasivam, state ministers J Mercykutty Amma, K T Jaleel, Lok Sabha MP K V Thomas, director General ICAR, T Mohapatra and officials from AFSIB attended the conference.
Venkaiah Naidu was here for a two-day visit. This is his first visit to the state as vice-president.
He was presented a with a guard of honor on arrival. Hours before the VP's visit, an unmanned aircraft of the Indian Navy crashed at the Naval base in Kochi.