The Ministry of Fisheries is working with the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) to start the first fisheries incubator in India. This is an initiative to spur aquaculture to add value in fisheries through the cooperative route. Part of the larger Blue Revolution or Pradhan Mantri Matsaya Sampada Yojna launched in September 2021, this initiative comes with a budget of Rs. 20,050 crore for five years.
The incubator will initially be with 10 entrepreneurs in Gurugram who will be helped with all resources for three years for their startup. The number of entrepreneurs is proposed to be increased later along with the number of centers.
Fishermen will be given credit cards similar to the kisan credit card and loans will be arranged from financial institutions to entrepreneurs in the sector. The idea is to increase the participation of cooperatives in the fisheries sector which is around 20 per cent now to 70-80 percent nationwide.
India’s goal is to reach Rs.1 lakh crore in fisheries exports by 2024-25 from around Rs. 45,000 crores in 2019-20. The export figures had gone down by 6.3 percent due to Covid in the last financial year but has since recovered and has been showing steady growth.
The incubation centres will provide office spaces free or at low-cost to fishery cooperatives or self-help groups to help them cut their overheads in the initial years. The goal of the centres is to push entrepreneurship at different stages of fishery like handling, storage, marketing to accommodate the increased demand in India and abroad. This initiative is planned to result in 10 to 12 new startups or cooperatives in a year. It also hopes to train around 25 aqua-preneurs for 3 to 6 months in business through internships. This effort aims to increase revenue in the fishermen community, generate jobs in the cooperatives and motivate entrepreneurship in the fisheries sector.