Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar has said the Centre has been planning to develop fisheries industry on a large scale in the next three-four years to ease burden on agriculture sector.

Speaking after inaugurating ‘Matsya Bhavan', the headquarters of National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), here on Friday the Minister said even small countries like Vietnam were far ahead of India in fisheries industry.

Building inaugurated

The NFDB building has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 22.63 crore.

Mr. Pawar stressed the need for encouraging allied sectors like fisheries and dairy farming to ease burden on the agriculture sector. The country had overcome a situation of importing foodgrains in 2006-07 to exporting now with sufficient reserves in godowns.

In response to the request of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Mr. Pawar offered to set up an aquarium of international standards in Hyderabad.

Earlier, the Chief Minister said his government was committed to making agriculture a profitable vocation as lack of remunerative prices to the produce was forcing many to abandon farming and migrate to towns and cities. He cited 67 per cent increase in budget for agriculture, 75 p.c. increase for horticulture and 150 p.c. for dairy farming as testimony to the government's will.

‘Boost to fishing'

Stating that about 20 lakh families in the State depend on fishing for livelihood, the Chief Minister assured to help them by providing satellite-based information to go on fishing to the indentified areas where the movement of fish was noticed. Orders scrapping ‘nala' fee to fisheries industry were issued and the budget for fisheries was hiked from Rs. 20 crore to Rs. 236 crore this year, he noted.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Charan Das Mahant, Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) S. Ayyappan, Minister for Animal Husbandry P. Viswaroop and others participated.