Staff Reporter

Diversify and extend market reach, SHGs told

Minister calls for publicity campaign for SAF products

Loan amount to be hiked from Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000

KOCHI: Fisheries Minister S. Sarma has said that the State government has decided to enhance the interest-free loan extended to fisherwomen by Matsyafed through Society for Assistance to Fisherwomen (SAF) from the existing Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000.

Speaking at a public meeting at Rajendra Maidan to mark the end of the two-day SAF-Theeramaitri Fest, an exhibition-cum-sale of products by women self-help groups in the fishing sector, Mr. Sarma emphasised the need for a widespread publicity campaign to create awareness on the unadulterated products manufactured by the women self-help groups under SAF.

This, he said, was essential to expand the domestic market of these products in a highly competitive market.

Mr. Sarma said that an effective system had been put in place to sell the products of SAF units to supermarkets launched under the Theeramaitri Scheme, introduced in the aftermath of tsunami for the uplift of coastal population.

He said the State government was offering subsidy for 13 items at these supermarkets to ensure that producers received fair price for their produce and consumers could buy them at reasonable price.

The Minister urged the self-help groups to diversify and extend the domestic market for their sustainable development.

He praised the self-help groups set up under SAF in the district for their sincere and effective utilisation of Rs.2 crore allotted by the State government for 1,500 families under the programme.

To drive home the point as to how effective the SAF units were, Mr. Sarma said that one such unit in Kozhikode involved in soap manufacturing had paid Rs.25 lakh as sales tax alone in the last year. Dominic Presentation, MLA, who presided, said that such exhibitions should be organised every few months so that these products had a wider market reach, including foreign markets.