There are 10 million fishermen and FISHCOFED, the apex cooperative federation of them is at the vanguard of fish revolution. Government of India is committed to lend all help to fisheries cooperatives so that the lot of fisherman could be improved.These are the words of Union State Minister for agriculture Harish Rawat who was speaking at a function of Fishcofed in New Delhi on Thursday.
Mr Rawat was speaking at a programmes organized by FISHCOFED on the theme “Food and Social Security of Fishers through Fisheries Cooperatives”. He emphasized on the need of Fishcofed intensifying its training program to fishers.
The programmes was attended by Chairman of Fishcofed Prakash Lonare, Managing Director B K Mishra, NCDC Executive Director, Vice Chairman of Fishcofed , Directors of Fishcofed and many others.
Though there are 25 state level Federations, only 17 are members of Fishcofed. Mr B K Mishra assured that effort would be made to include all state federations. We should not forget that fishers are the real masters and we are merely their servants. At our present rate of training ,250 years would be required to train 10 million fishermen. He exhorted everybody to come forward to strengthen the cooperative movement so that the quality of life for fishermen improves.
Fishcopfed has covered 32 lakh fishermen under group insurance scheme. Mr Mishra said that insurance alone is not enough,there is need to focus on scientific fishing and model marketing to lend strength to the movement. Networking of about 15000 primary fisheries cooperative has been done by Fishcofed which could prove useful for any central government policy and its implementation, he added.
NCDC Executive Director Mr Hasan said that fishermen being weaker section of population, liberal funding is available with NCDC and we are eager to lend our full support. He reminded that NCDC is also member of Fishcofed as it has bought share capital.
Maharashtra Fisheries Cooperative leader Mr Damodar Tandel wanted entry of Fishcofed into marketing so that fishermen are not exploited by the middle man and get return of their hard labour. Apex cooperative should also fix support rates and should directly buy fish from the fishers. What does fisherman get even though fish to the tune of Rs 10 thousand crore is exported, he asked. Insurance alone would not help as we need to be truly proactive, he warned the assembled gathering.