Odisha inks agreement with MPEDA to set up a lab

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to boost exports of marine products from the state, Odisha government today signed an agreement with Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) to set up an ultra modern laboratory here.

An estimated Rs 15 crore will be invested in the proposed laboratory, which will come up at Kaushalyaganga on the outskirts of the state capital. The laboratory will help the fish farmers of Odisha and West Bengal. The state government has agreed to provide half an acre of land for the purpose.

While export of marine products of India has reached all time high of Rs 30,213.26 crore in 2013-14, Odisha has earned Rs 1,817 crore from exports of Marine Food products, said Fisheries Minister Pradeep Maharathy, who attended the function marking the signing of the agreement with MPEDA.

As Odisha has a long coastline of about 480 km, the state government wanted to use it and increase the marine fish production in the state, the Minister said.

With expansion of export trade, at present quality control has been a major concern for the food items all over the world, said Fisheries Secretary B P Sethi.

“For better control and assurance of food safety, the quality parameters are to be identified and addressed separately,” Sethi said, adding that the quality issues pertaining to seafood are due to pathogenic bacteria, aquaculture drugs, chemical contaminants, filth/decomposition.

Therefore, establishment of quality Control Laboratory has been the need of the hour for sustainability of the aquaculture, he said.

MPEDA has three such ‘State of the Art’ laboratories, one in Kerala and two in Andhra Pradesh. The proposed lab in Odisha would be fourth of its kind.