Fishery Minister of the state Sudhangshu Das on Wednesday said despite the creation of a huge number of water bodies and scaling up of commercial fish production, still, Tripura is short of even the one-third requirement of the demand, which has been managed by importing from the other states and Bangladesh.
“The per capita demand for fish is 26 kilos per annum but our domestic production lies at 18 kg. We have been listening to making Tripura self-sufficient in fish production since our childhood. But after 25 yrs long communist rule has done nothing rather had made the state more dependent on other states not only for fish or animal protein, but for milk, egg, agriculture, and horticulture produces,” Das pointed out.
The production of fish, the raring of cows, vending of milk at the doorstep, and floriculture began in 2018 after BJP led government came to power. A large number of people were supported in agriculture and allied activities under various schemes that improved the supply chain to some extent but still, Tripura is lagging behind in attaining self-sufficiency in food production, Das observed.
According to officials, Tripura is producing 72,273 MT of fish against the annual demand of 96,454 MT and the state government has employed scientific intervention to increase fish production to meet the deficit of a total of 24,181 MT of fish which comes from the outside. The state government has been looking for investment in the fishery section, which is one of the major sources of income generating sector to grow the state’s economy.
Tripura has the potential of cultivating fish seeds and production of fish food, innovation of technology, and creation of new species of fish. About Rs 700 Cr of money was flown out for importing fish from outside the state, which the state government has targeted to pluck by increasing domestic fish production.
Tripura has created a huge number of water bodies under MGNREA in the past few years though natural streams, rivers, and water bodies were reduced substantially due to large-scale encroachment and expansion of human activities.
However, the optimum level of utilization of water bodies has not been done yet due to inadequate plans. Moreover, over-dependency on Bangladesh for fish import increases the trade deficit between India and Bangladesh.