Mpeda, Cochin Port sign ₹140-crore project to modernise fishing harbour

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on September 29, 2020 Published on September 29, 2020

Marine Products Export Development Authority (Mpeda) is set to work with Cochin Port Trust (CPT) to modernise Kerala’s pivotal Cochin Fisheries Harbour with more than a dozen key features that will enhance the unit value of realisation of sea-caught items and minimise post-harvest losses.

Mpeda Chairperson KS Srinivas signed an MoU with his CPT counterpart M Beena, initiating the ₹140-crore project that will mobilise resources from various Central government schemes. A special purpose vehicle is being launched to implement the development plans.

The harbour, built on 27 acres, facilitates berthing and landing of more than 500 vessels. Commissioned in 1978, the harbour at Thoppumpady clocks a daily average landing of 250 tonnes of fish. Processors procure a major share for exports.

Noting that infrastructural inadequacies are hampering the quality of the fish, the agreement aims for the harbour to feature air-conditioned auction halls, besides a packing hall and bays for loading and unloading.

The MoU envisages the construction of electrical substations, an effluent treatment plant, a retail market, fish-dressing unit and net-mending area, besides offices, dormitories, a food court, canteen, drivers’ waiting area and parking lots for vehicles.

Mpeda had proposed to the Centre to renovate 25 select fishing harbours across the country. The agency is going for a similar exercise on the peninsula’s eastern coast: Nizampatnam Fishing Harbour in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

“These 25 major fishing harbours contribute a lion’s share of landings in the country for export. At present, India’s value addition of marine products is a meagre 5 per cent. We must increase it manifold, given that the figure for South-East Asian countries is 50 per cent,” said Srinivas.

Mpeda’s pact with CPT comes when India has 50 major and 100 minor fishing harbours, together contributing 65 per cent in quantity and 45 per cent in value of the country’s total seafood exports. Estimates show a loss of nearly one-fourth of the catch during post-harvest operations. Besides poor infrastructure facilities, India’s fishing harbours also face lack of professional management, poor safety measures and unhygienic handling of catch.

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Published on September 29, 2020
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