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POST HARVEST LOSSES IN AQUACULTURE

POST HARVEST LOSSES IN AQUACULTURE

SECTOR – ISSUES AND STRATEGIES

 

J. Charles Jeeva*, Nikita Gopal, S. Balasubramaniam, Aarathy Ashok

and V. Chandrasekhar

 

Central Institute of Fisheries Technology,

Matsaypuri P. O., Cochin-682 029, Kerala, India

jcjeeva@gmail.com

 

ABSTRACT

 

There are huge avoidable losses of almost all agricultural, livestock and fishery products. Developing countries like India cannot afford to lose their fisheries produce in view of its requirements for the fast growing population. As global production falls short of growing demand for human consumption, the efficient utilization of fish resources by reducing post-harvest losses has been of prime concern in recent years. But, the up-to-date data on post harvest losses at different stages in culture fisheries are not available in Indian context. The need for assessment of such losses has become all the more important to know the magnitude of loss and underlying causes and to plan the loss reduction strategies. Hence, a pilot study was undertaken with the objective of assessing the post harvest losses at various stages in aquaculture sector. The study was conducted in East Godavari and West Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh. The samples of respondents were selected using two-stage sampling, simple random sampling without replacement and stratified random sampling methods. Data from the selected respondents were collected at weekly intervals through interview method, using structured interview schedules.

 

At harvest stages, the extent of losses was found to be 2.40% in freshwater aquaculture and 1.86% in brackishwater aquaculture sectors. At various marketing channels, the percentage losses were found to be 0.29 at fish godowns/ packing centres, 0.19 to 1.57 at pre-processing units, 0.15 to 0.54 at processing units, 1.42 to 10.98 at wholesale markets, 2.96 at retail markets, 4.10 to 5.52 at the level of vendors and 2.22 at live fish transportation centres. The possible causes were found to be faulty handling practices, inordinate delay in timing from harvest to packing and transportation, spoilages due to inadequate usage of ice, discarding of juveniles and un-economical sized fishes, adverse weather conditions, physical losses, discarding due to lack of demand, spoilage due to improper packing and inefficient containers, unreliable transportation, spoilage due to delay in transportation, spoilage due to lack of storage facilities, and prolonged duration of marketing. Avoiding the delay in duration of harvest, avoiding the catches of juveniles and un-economical sized species, adequate use of ice, strengthening of infrastructural facilities in markets, good storage and hygiene conditions, improved handling practices and training and demonstration on proper handling and transportation methods are some of the managerial measures required to minimize the losses. The technological requirements are the development of improved packaging materials and efficient containers and improved handling, preservation and processing techniques, especially for cultured fishes. If such losses are avoided, then it would help in not only meeting the nutritional requirements of the people, but also in earning foreign exchange by exporting the surplus. This study may be helpful to create awareness regarding the losses among the fisherpersons, planners, policy makers and administrators for planning and implementing the programmes related to these areas. More such studies covering the actual economical losses, at each stage of handling, transportation and marketing are required.

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.