- WorldFish will enhance the capacity of Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) by facilitating technology transfer and knowledge-sharing through a 5-year collaboration with the Department of Mission Shakti in Odisha.
- The collaboration was officially launched at an inception cum orientation workshop held in May 2023 at the State Convention Center, Lokaseva Bhavan, Bhubaneswar.
- By empowering women and equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills, WorldFish is contributing to poverty reduction and increasing employment opportunities for women.
In a significant step towards empowering women in the aquatic foods production sector, WorldFish has partnered with the Department of Mission Shakti and the Department of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development in Odisha to enhance the capacity of Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) by facilitating technology transfer and knowledge-sharing. The collaboration focuses on three key intervention areas namely production of hygienic solar dried fish, marketing of the dried fish in open markets within and outside Odisha and training SHGs in fish farming in Gram Panchayat tanks across the state.
The 5-year “Capacity building of Mission Shakti SHGs for production and marketing of hygienically dried fish and fish farming in Gram Panchayat tanks in Odisha” project was officially launched at an inception cum orientation workshop held in May 2023 at the State Convention Center, Lokaseva Bhavan, Bhubaneswar. The event brought together a diverse group of participants, including Department of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development officers, Department of Mission Shakti field functionaries representing seven coastal districts, WorldFish staff, SHG members, private partners and NGOs.
Working coherently with partners to achieve success
At the event, Arun Padiyar, WorldFish lead in India, stressed the importance of capacity building for the 30,000 SHG women under the Mission Shakti program. He highlighted the rising demand for dried fish in niche markets in states like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim in Northeastern India. He also emphasized the need for quality improvement of dried fish produced by SHG members, which calls for unifying SHGs in all seven coastal districts.
“The adoption of good packaging practices and certification by organizations like the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India will enhance consumer trust and increase product sales,” Padiyar added.
Government officials, including the principal secretary of the Department of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development in Odisha and the state mission director cum chief executive officer of Odisha Livelihood Mission, expressed their appreciation for WorldFish’s long-term support in the development of the aquatic foods production sector in the state and emphasized the importance of expanding the collaboration to more districts with a focus on dried fish value addition.
"WorldFish's enduring support in advancing aquatic food systems in Odisha, through initiatives such as boosting fish and fish seed production and improving the monetary value of fish exports, has been commendable,” said Suresh Kumar Vashishth, the principal secretary of the Department of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development in Odisha.
Transforming the lives of women in Odisha
Sujata Karthikeyan, the Department of Mission Shakti’s commissioner and secretary, highlighted the significance of aquatic food systems as a vital allied sector of agriculture. She expressed optimism that technical inputs from WorldFish would enable women aquatic food producers to access markets not only in other states but also overseas, especially with the upcoming air connectivity to Southeast Asian countries.
“All stakeholders need to work coherently for the success of the project and the transformative impact it would have on the lives of women in the coastal districts,” urged Karthikeyan.
The workshop included several technical sessions delivered by subject matter experts on hygienic dried fish production and marketing. These sessions covered the status and challenges faced by the dried fish value chain actors in Odisha, FSSAI licensing and standardized practices, successful business models from other states and training opportunities at the College of Fisheries in Ganjam district. Participants also learned about the experience of SHGs in the production of hygienic dried fish using solar dryers and the marketing challenges they encountered.
This collaboration underscores WorldFish’s commitment to ending hunger and poverty through sustainable aquatic food production. By empowering women and equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills, WorldFish is contributing to poverty reduction and increasing employment opportunities for women. This aligns perfectly with Mission Shakti's vision of women-led development and its efforts to reduce poverty and improve the lives of millions of women in Odisha.