Over 500 start-up units in the ornamental fish sector are on the course of revival after suffering heavy losses during the Covid, thanks to efforts of the Kerala Aqua Ventures International Limited (KAVIL), a State-owned enterprise. Through a slew of initiatives such as buyer-seller meet, startup training and effective marketing strategies, the body under the Department of Fisheries supported hundreds of families to sustain their livelihood and improve their income.

The buyer-seller meet played a major role in streamlining the market avenues and connecting wholesale traders in the sector from across the country to the ornamental fish farmers in the State.

The events, being conducted every Monday in a week, yielded good results with potential buyers turning up to buy fish from the farmers associated with the KAVIL. Within the past two years, the event generated business worth ₹72 lakhs, said M S Saju, Managing Director of the KAVIL and Joint Director of the Department of Fisheries. 

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Each session of the event generated a business of up to ₹2 lakhs, turning the ornamental fisheries a lucrative source of income, he said.

“The buyer-seller meet has become a game-changer in the sector as the platform is becoming increasingly popular among farmers and traders, witnessing increased dealings in recent months. We are taking measures to attract wholesale giants in the industry into KAVIL, aiming to do a business of ₹5 crore annually by 2025 through this platform and make the state a hub of ornamental fisheries in the country”, he said.

Additionally, it launched a newly-designed website (www.kavil.in) with an e-commerce facility to further boost the sales of ornamental fishes. 

A government nodal agency to improve ornamental fisheries in the State, KAVIL provided intensive training, paving the way for an increased number of start-ups. These units now produce quality ornamental varieties and reach targeted consumers with the body playing the key role as a facilitator ensuring farmers getting a reasonable price.

Mini Sekharan, the marketing consultant of KAVIL and Associate Professor in School of Industrial Fisheries, Cochin University of Science and Technology  said, “the lack of large-scale production for consistent supply to domestic and international markets and proper marketing strategies hindered the growth of a highly prospective industry in Kerala in the past. India is a country with huge domestic market potential which can be explored well with enhanced production and marketing”.