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Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002

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17 AP shrimp farms set up PCR labs

Ch. R.S. Sarma


IN an effort to supply disease-free shrimp seeds to farmers, the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has helped about 17 of the total 180 hatcheries in Andhra Pradesh to set up PCR (polymerase chain reaction) labs.

Inaugurating one such lab in Samudra Hatcheries Pvt Ltd at Yellaiahpeta in Thondangi mandal near here last week, Mr Vishnu Bhat, Joint Director, MPEDA, said the authority was offering 50 per cent subsidy in setting up the lab, subject to a ceiling of Rs 10 lakh. He said the 70-odd hatcheries off the coast in East Godavari too should take the lead in setting up the lab.

He said MPEDA would organise a training programme for PCR lab technicians in Vijayawada next month and the authority was also contemplating on a rating system for hatcheries after a sufficient number of them set up PCR labs. Presently, the PCR kits were being imported and MPEDA was urging the research institutions to develop an indigenous kit, he added.

Mr Bhat said the authority had also taken up a campaign against the use of antibiotics in shrimp ponds and hatcheries and the problem had been brought under control. MPEDA had issued a notification urging the farmers to desist from using 20 banned antibiotics.

He said the first shrimp crop in Andhra Pradesh (the summer crop) this year was reasonable but the production had suffered by 10-15 per cent and it may amount to 25,000 tonnes or so. The total cultured shrimp production last year in the State was roughly 50,000 tonnes and the first crop was close to 30,000 t.

Mr L. Satyanarain, Director of Samudra Hatcheries, urged the Union Government to reduce the import duty on PCR kits and lab components.

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