TDB of DST Forays Into Aquaculture Funds Its 1st Aquaculture-Project Using Israeli Tech
Fountainhead's Aquaculture Site [Image -]

Inspired by Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, and to bring ‘Blue Revolution’ TDB-DST supports its first aquaculture project

Realizing the potential of Fisheries sector, Government of India has taken several steps to promote and encourage fisheries & aquaculture in the country. Last year in July, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, launched the Online Course Mobile App “Matsya Setu” to disseminate the latest freshwater aquaculture technologies to the aqua farmers of the country.

In a latest now, Technology Development Board (TDB), a statutory body under Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India has funded its first ever ‘Aquaculture’ project using ‘state of the art’ Israeli technology for production of Tilapia Fish. The board has supported Navi Mumbai-based Fountainhead Agro Farms Pvt Ltd. (Fountainhead), for ‘Advanced, Intensive, All Male Tilapia Aquaculture Project with Israeli Technology’, says today's press release by Ministry of Science & Technology.

TDB has penned an mutual agreement, to provide loan assistance of Rs. 8.42 crores out of the total project cost of Rs. 29.78 crores to the company.

Tilapia’ has emerged to be one of the most productive and internationally traded food fish in the world. The culture of tilapia has become commercially popular in many parts of the world and the fishery experts have dubbed the tilapia as “aquatic chicken” due to its quick growth and low maintenance cultivation. Today, if any fish that could be named as global fish, no better name can be thought of than Tilapia.

In order to facilitate the culture of Tilapia in India in responsible manner, Fountainhead envisages setting up of a complete production line (from breeding to full fish) in Mudhol (Karnataka). The company aims to produce 500 tons of Tilapia, to be grown from the imported parent broodstock ‘Hermon’ from Nir David Fish Breeding Farm, Israel.  

Hermon is a hybrid of two selected strains of Tilapia, namely Oreochromis Niloticus (Male) and Oreochromis Aureus (Female), and is known for special characteristics such as high growth rate; resistance to low temperature.

Fountainhead Site in construction for Aquaculture [Image -]

Fountainhead initiated the conventional fish farming of Indian Major Carps (IMC) at Mudol, Karnataka by converting the sugarcane fields to earthen ponds and drawing water through pipelines from the river. It specialized over the years to grow particular breed of IMC from seedling stage to full grown fish, most conducive to the water and soil properties of the established Site location spreading over 16 acres of land.

The company has adopted advanced Israeli Technology from Aquaculture Production Technology Limited (APTIL), Israel (under Technology Service Agreement signed in October, 2020) for land locked locations through closed loop farming for arid zone with seasonal water supply from rivers, which may be replicated throughout India in multiple arid landlocked locations with reasonable water sources. In order to suit Indian conditions, the complete engineering of the facility is tuned as per the requirement of site conditions such as land availability, water availability, weather conditions, availability of the surrounding resources, soil conditions, topography.

Mr. Rajesh Kumar Pathak, IP&TAFS, Secretary, TDB said that, “The Govt. of India has placed special attention to fisheries sector with a view to uplift fishermen community of India economically through ‘Blue Revolution’. The sector holds vast potential for export, especially the ‘Tilapia Fish’ considering its huge demand in the global market. Also, the imported technology being ‘one of its kind’ will be a great addition to Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), the ambitious scheme of Hon’ble PM, which aims to double the export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore from fisheries sector.

Fisheries is one of the fastest growing sectors amongst the primary producing sectors. The sector plays a vital role in economic and overall development of the country, also referred as the “sunrise sector”, it is poised to bring in immense potential through equitable and inclusive growth. The sector is recognized as a powerful engine for providing employment to 14.5 million people and sustaining livelihood for 28 million fishermen community of the country.

A couple of months back, AquaExchange, a full-stack, tech-driven platform serving India’s multi-billion-dollar shrimp & fish ecosystem, had raised $3 million in Pre-Series A funding from Endiya Partners and Accion Venture Lab, and others. AquaExchange’s IoT-powered technology helps India’s shrimp and fish farmers improve productivity and increase profits

Notably, to promote fisheries the cabinet under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister, came up with ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)’ to bring about ‘Blue Revolution’ through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India.

The PMMSY scheme targets to enhance fish production to 220 lakh metric tons by 2024-25, at an average annual growth rate of about 9%. The ambitious scheme also aims to double the export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore and generate about 55 lakhs direct and indirect employment opportunities in fisheries sector over a period of next five years.

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