24 Feb, 2018
Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has launched an initiative to develop a GPS-based database of export-oriented aquaculture farms in India for their traceability as well as to protect the interests of end-consumers. This is to ensure shrimp and exportable varieties of fish are free from traces of banned and unwanted substances such as antibiotics.
Under the scheme, MPEDA will register all farms engaged in the production of shrimp, shellfish and other exportable varieties of fish by providing farmers cards carrying a unique identification number (farm ID) and quick-response (QR) code containing basic information on their farms. An estimated 100,000 farms covering about 195,994 hectares are under shrimp culture in India. Out of this, MPEDA has collected GPS data for 65,595 farms covering 148,321 hectares while enrolment has been completed for 54,165 farms.
MPEDA regularly monitors the enrolled farms and trains farmers in best management practices, empowers them with market information for getting better price for the produce, and conducts awareness campaigns to sensitise them about the ill-effects of antibiotics
MPEDA Chairman A Jayathilak said the purpose of enrolment is to identify each farm/hatchery unit for extending assistance schemes as well as for their traceability. The produce from the enrolled units can be traced from the farm to the end-consumer. The pre-harvest test (PHT) to screen farm produce for banned antibiotics such as chloramphenicol and nitrofuran is also linked with the unique ID issued to the enrolled farmers. PHT certificate is compulsory for exports of aquaculture shrimp to the European Union.
Jayathilak added this measure will go a long way in addressing concerns of US, Japan and the EU regarding stringent quality controls over exports of seafood, and check traces of banned antibiotics in consignments.