The solar-powered dry fish unit a big success
The innovative solar- powered dry fish unit inaugurated at Shakthikulangara here in June last is gaining both national as well as international acceptance. The project has become such a success that it is now being known even in international fisheries circles as the “Shakthikulangara model,” said Director of Fisheries P.I. Sheik Pareeth.
Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Pareeth said the Sultanate of Oman, with a large coastline and a well established fishing industry, had expressed keen interest in setting up solar powered dry fish units in that country with technical support from the Fisheries Department of Kerala.
At the national level, the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Hyderabad, administered by the Union Ministry of Agriculture, had evaluated the performance of the ‘Shakthikulangara model' and had decided to propagate it at the national level. On account of its success, the State government had also submitted a proposal to the NFDB for starting seven more such units in the State.
Dr. Pareeth said the Oman Fisheries Company (OFC), the largest seafood company of that country, had expressed keen interest in establishing the ‘ Shakthikulangara model' along the fishing points of Oman's coastal belt. Representatives of the company had come to Thiruvananthapuram recently to hold talks in this connection. The State government had in principle agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the OFC for the purpose, Dr. Pareeth said. As per the agreement, the Fisheries Department would be establish solar dry fish units in Oman on a turn key basis and would also be the consultants.
The solar dry fish unit developed ensured hygiene in dry fish processing. While dry fish from Kerala had tremendous potential in the domestic and export markets, its hygiene aspects often created hurdles for its potential because the fish was often spread out in unhygienic surrounding for sun-drying.
This had pushed India 26th position in the export of dry fish products in spite of being in the 9th position for marine products export and sixth position in the world in fish production.