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India fetes first organic harvest at pilot scampi farms in Kerala.

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India fetes first organic harvest at pilot scampi farms in


Kerala.
Title Annotation: QFFI's GLOBAL SEAFOOD MAGAZINE
Geographic Code: 9INDI
Date: Jan 1, 2009
Words: 401
Publication: Quick Frozen Foods International
ISSN: 0033-6416

Scientific shrimp farming continues to arouse controversies over environmental and social impacts as
well as food safety issues. Disease outbreaks in shrimp farms, especially white spot syndrome virus
(WSSV), have cost Indian shrimp farms four to five billion rupees a year.

Shrimp farmers have taken recourse with antibiotics and other chemicals in their ponds. But now the
Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), mindful of environmental concerns, has
implemented an India Organic Aquaculture Project (IOAP) in collaboration with the Swiss Import
Promotion Program (SIPPO).

MPEDA's organic aquaculture program is getting its start in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh with organic
scampi, and in due course the initiative will be expanded to other maritime states. Organic black tiger
shrimp will also be cultured. The first scampi harvests took place last November in Kuttanad, Kerala,
where 340,000 seeds were stocked in 20 hectares of freshwater ponds last spring.

Compared to production of other foods such as fruits and vegetables, organic aquaculture is still in its
infancy in India. Organic production worldwide is limited to a few species--primarily shrimp, salmon, trout
and carp--which are produced mainly in Europe, South and Central America and in Asia. Organic
products are generally offered in fresh and frozen forms with very few value-added products.

In India, organic fruits and vegetables have been developed for export to international markets. Recently
international retail channels have foreseen great potential for other organic products, including seafoods.
But standards for the production of organic shrimp and scampi are based on Indian farm conditions and
other standards available.

The initial Kerala scampi farms, owned by four individuals, were inspected by INDOCERT, the national
agency for certifying organics, and have been provided with certification of registration from Naturland--a
certifying agency in Germany. The stocked scampi seeds in the nursery were fed with the organic
scampi feed of starter grade--produced and supplied by The Waterbase Ltd., Nellore, Andhra
Pradesh--for a period of 45 days and later transferred to grow-out ponds, where grower and finisher
grades of organic scampi feed were given.

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After a culture period of seven months, from the date of stocking in the nursery, harvest of the shrimp
began November 1, in a function organized at the farm site, where S. Sharma, Kerala's Minister of State
for Fisheries and Registration, inaugurated the world's first such harvest. MPEDA Chairman G. Mohan
Kumar delivered the keynote address to mark the historic occasion.

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