- WorldFish will train 30,000 women from 3,000 Mission Shakti SHGs to produce hygienically dried fish using solar driers.
- The collaboration will also see 20,000 women belonging to 2,000 Mission Shakti SHGs across the state trained to farm fish in multi-purpose Gram Panchayat (GP) tanks.
The Government of Odisha has signed a new five-year agreement with WorldFish to uplift women from Mission Shakti Self-Help Groups (SHGs) by making them financially independent through the sustainable and profitable production and sale of fresh fish and hygienically dried fish.
Over the five years, WorldFish will train 30,000 women from 3,000 Mission Shakti SHGs to produce hygienically dried fish using solar driers. The Mission Shakti SHGs involved in the production of hygienically dried fish are spread across seven coastal districts, namely Ganjam, Puri, Khorda, Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak and Balasore.
“By training them to hygienically dry and process fresh fish using low-cost solar driers, they can enhance the quality and prolong the shelf life, reducing loss and waste and eventually, increasing incomes,” said Baishnaba Charan Ratha, WorldFish’s senior human nutrition and public health specialist in India.
The production is considered more hygienic as it is in an enclosed tent, preventing contamination with sand, dust, insects and bird droppings among others. These hygienic dried fish will subsequently be marketed through buyback arrangements with established market actors in the dried fish industry.
A ceremony to exchange the Memorandum of Agreement held in Bhubaneswar, Odisha recently was attended by Ratha and Sujatha Karthikeyan, the Department of Mission Shakti’s commissioner-cum-secretary.
Giving underutilized Gram Panchayat tanks a new purpose
The collaboration will also see 20,000 women belonging to 2,000 Mission Shakti SHGs across the state trained to farm fish in multi-purpose Gram Panchayat (GP) tanks. Odisha has about 64,000 GP tanks, totaling roughly 50,000 hectares of water. The tanks were originally built to conserve water through rainwater harvesting but they are now utilized by locals for a variety of purposes including washing clothes, bathing, sacred rituals and agricultural land irrigation.
“This is yet another time-tested and proven business venture in a previous agreement between WorldFish and the Department of Mission Shakti involving approximately 15,000 GP tanks across 30 districts,” said Arun Padiyar, WorldFish lead in India.
Since 2018, nearly 10,000 women’s self-help groups have participated in government efforts in partnership with WorldFish to enable sustainable and profitable aquatic food production as well as a resilient source of income and nutrition for low-income families.
“WorldFish has successfully worked with women's self-help groups in Odisha in recent years and this agreement is a testament to our work to empowering women, alleviating poverty and combating malnutrition in disadvantaged communities through aquatic foods,” said Essam Yassin Mohammed, WorldFish director general and CGIAR senior director of aquatic food systems.