Agri Business

RGCA develops live feed for shrimp

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on September 16, 2019 Published on September 16, 2019

In a major breakthrough, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) has indigenously developed a top quality live feed, which can stimulate shrimp and fish seed production in the country and reduce its dependence on imports from the US and China.

Artemia, the most important live feed in shrimp and fish hatcheries, has been developed by RGCA, the research wing of the Marine Products Export Development Agency (MPEDA), under the brand name ‘Pearl’.

India currently imports around 300 tonnes of Artemia in dried cyst form worth ₹300 crore annually, mainly from the US and China. It is an important consumable in shrimp and fish hatcheries for the larvae of farmed aquatic organisms, MPEDA Chairman KS Srinivas said.

Artemia appears only in waters of high salinity. There is a huge potential for Artemia live feed in the country and its operations can be expanded on a large scale in States such as Maharashtra and Gujarat, he added.

India is looking to double its seafood exports from the present $7 billion to $15 billion by 2024 through introduction of new varieties, and expansion of aquaculture cultivation to new areas.

“Our indigenous Pearl brand of Artemia is a big step in realising this ambitious target,” Srinivas said

Describing the breakthrough as one of the most successful stories in the country’s aquaculture sector, S Kandan, Project Director, MPEDA-RGCA, said the University of Kent in Belgium, an authority to test Artemia, has certified the product as the best of its kind in the world. The price of imported brands of Artemia costs around ₹5,300 for 450 gm in India. The ‘Pearl’ brand is priced at ₹3,500 for 450 gm. The cost can be brought down further once the production increases, Kandan said.

Artemia is being produced in the facilities of MPEDA-RGCA in Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu, with a total capacity of 500 kg a year.

Kandan said the production of Artemia can become a source of additional income generation and employment, especially for women entrepreneurs and self-help groups engaged in salt pans.

At present, MPEDA-RGCA produces Artemia on 18 hectares. However, the country has a potential area of 12,000 hectares that could be used for its production, he said.

Published on September 16, 2019
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