In terms of agriculture, culture, language, religion, and geography, India is a diversified country. India cultivates a diverse range of crops, including fruits, vegetables, spices, and livestock products. The Blue Revolution, also known as the Neel or Nili Kr anti-Mission, was one of India's most dramatic agricultural victories, changing the country from a net importer of fish and marine products to a self-sufficient and leading producer and exporter.
What precisely is the Blue Revolution?
The term "Blue Revolution" refers to India's remarkable growth and development in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. It was initiated during the 7th Five-Year Plan in 1985-1990, led by Dr. Arun Krishnan and Dr. Hiralal Chaudhari, who are popularly considered as the Blue Revolution's progenitors. The program's primary goals were as follows:
- Increase the area and productivity of both inland and marine fisheries resources in order to increase the country's production and consumption of fish and marine goods.
- To empower rural fish farmers, particularly tiny and marginalised ones, by forming village-level cooperatives to procure, process, and market fish and fish products.
- Improving the quality and production of fishing resources by providing better seeds, feed, health care, and technology.
- Raise rural poor income and living standards by creating job and income opportunities in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
What factors contributed to the Blue Revolution's success?
The Blue Revolution was carried out in three stages, from 1985-1990 to 1998-1999, with the assistance of numerous national and international organizations. The following were the program's main features:
- The adoption of the Anand cooperative dairying model, which was pioneered by Dr. Verghese Kurien and his team at the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which owns the well-known Amul brand. The Anand model is founded on the principles of democratic and professional management, with farmers owning and controlling the entire fish supply chain, from production to marketing, and sharing profits among themselves.
- The creation of a network of fishing cooperatives at the village, district, and state levels that will cover over 1.3 lakh villages and 15 million fish producers across the country. These cooperatives collect, process, and distribute fish and fish products to consumers under a single brand name, such as Matsyafed, Fishfed, Jalfed, and so on.
- The establishment of a national fish grid that connects surplus fish-producing regions such as Gujarat, Punjab, and Haryana with deficit regions such as Bihar, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu via a network of fish landing centers, cold storage facilities, processing units, and transportation facilities. This assures a consistent and homogeneous supply of fish throughout the year, reducing reliance on imports.
- The use of high-yielding varieties, hybrid seeds, bio-feed, integrated disease management, and water quality management to improve the genetic potential and health of fishing resources. This results in higher fish productivity and quality, as well as cheaper production costs.
- The development of a diverse fish portfolio that includes not only fresh and frozen fish but also a variety of value-added products such as fish pickles, fish curry, fish cutlets, fish fingers, fish burgers, and so on. This contributes to increased demand for and consumption of fish and fish products, as well as to increased profitability and competitiveness in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
What are the consequences of the Blue Revolution?
The Blue Revolution has had a significant impact on India's socio-economic development, particularly in rural areas. Among the most significant consequences are:
- India's fish production rose from 18.5 lakh tonnes in 1985-1990 to 137.6 lakh tonnes in 2018-2019, making it the world's second-largest fish producer, accounting for 7.7% of worldwide fish production.
- Per capita fish availability in India has increased from 5.2 kilogrammes per year in 1985-1990 to 10.1 kg per year in 2018-2019, exceeding the global average of 9.1 kg per year.
- India's fisheries and aquaculture sector generates around 1.1% of GDP and 5.3% of agricultural GDP, and employs over 145 million people.
- India's fisheries and aquaculture sector has empowered women, who account for around 24% of fish farmers, by offering a consistent source of income, decision-making power, and social recognition.
- India's fisheries and aquaculture sector has benefited people's nutrition and health, particularly children, by providing a rich supply of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other critical nutrients.
What are the future's difficulties and opportunities?
The Blue Revolution has been an incredible success story, but it also confronts significant potential problems and opportunities. Some of the most important issues are:
- Rising demand for fish and fish products as a result of expanding population, urbanisation, income, and awareness, demanding additional expansion and modernization of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
- Changing consumer preferences and expectations, which demand greater variety, quality, safety, and convenience in fish and fish products, need further innovation and diversification of the fish portfolio.
- Rising internal and international rivalry, necessitating more efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
- Environmental and ethical challenges, such as water scarcity, pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change, necessitate greater sustainability and accountability on the part of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
The Blue Revolution has changed the game for India, and it now has the potential to become a global leader in fisheries and aquaculture. The Blue Revolution is about more than just fish; it is about transforming the rural economy, community, and culture. The Blue Revolution is both a previous success and a vision for the future. The Blue Revolution is both a revolution and an evolution.