‘Marine products of great quality and quantity available for cultivation in India’
KUWAIT CITY, Jan 7: The Indian Embassy in collaboration with the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), India organized a virtual Buyer Seller Meet on Marine Products at the Indian Embassy auditorium to explore, the trade and commercial prospects, for one of India’s major resources (marine).
Addressing a select audience, HE the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George said, with 7,516 km long coastline, India is richly endowed with an abundance of marine flora and fauna and consequently, marine products of a great quality and quantity are available for cultivation in India. Saying this is a first virtual event in the New Year, which is organized under the theme ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-Reliant India) to promote the vision of Indian’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to make India a global manufacturing hub, tapping into abundant natural resource base, and employing the country’s strong human resource capital.
The Indian envoy said, “Coming from the Indian state of Kerala, where the backwaters build, a context for the large part of our geographical, social and cultural lives, and the ocean and its produce are ubiquitous, I have a great appreciation for all things marine. In Kerala, our milieu, is also defined by another phenomenon from a long time, that of, our close and continuous contact with the Arab countries.” “Not just Kerala,’ he said, “but the entire Western coast of India, has been in close contact, with the people, on the other shore of the Arabian Sea.”
He added, the Arabian traders traversing the sea, in their dhows, formed a major trade and commerce connection between the east and the west. Dhows, or small sailing ships, or booms or the large ships from Kuwait, brought pearls and dates to India and on return trip they brought cereals and spices, and textiles and other products of everyday use. This maritime connect, has enriched India, and it has brought together the two civilizations. India and Kuwait are separated, only by the Arabian Sea between them, meaning that we are closest of the neighbors, and our close bilateral relationship, reflects this proximity and understanding of each other, he added.
“Our trade and commerce relationship is robust and is growing further. India is a major source of food grains and other produce, helping ensure food security in Kuwait. The fisheries products are a major part of our bilateral trade, with India being the largest source of seafood imported into Kuwait. “The major products that are imported from India include fish, notably Zubaidi, prawns and crabs etc. In 2019, India exported seafood worth about $30 million to Kuwait. (Through 2019-20, India shipped 1,289,651 tons of seafood, worth $6.68 billion, compared with 1,392,559 tons of seafood worth $6.73 billion the previous year.) Last year the COVID-19 pandemic affected the seafood trade globally and even then, India exported marine products worth of about $7 billion and our export to Kuwait was also sizeable.
It is commendable, that the Indian seafood exporters have adopted rigorous quality standards, and SOPs to follow COVID-19 related protocols to ensure that when the product reaches our table, it only brings happiness and no anxieties with it.
Addressing the meeting, were also K. S. Sriniwas, Chairman of Marine Products Export Development Authority, India, whose dynamic leadership and engagement, in promoting exports of marine products from India, is helping Indian exporters to reach newer markets, the envoy said.
Taking part on the Kuwait side was Dr Reem Al Fulaji, Deputy Director of Public Authority for Food and Nutrition (PAFN) a representative of the regulating body in Kuwait, responsible for import of fisheries and related products, who shared, her insights to help promote quality import from India. A detailed presentation was given by her colleague, Faisal Al-Rashidi, on all aspects of seafood import, from the Kuwaiti Regulator’s perspective. Others who took part from Kuwait and India, were Mashal Ahmad AlJarki, Group CEO, Al-Thiqa group of companies and Alex K. Ninan, President, Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI), Kerala region.
By Paul Francis X. Fernandes Arab Times Staff