Ludhiana 22 May 2020-An Industry- Farmer- Academia Webinar on “Covid-19 Crisis: Mitigation Strategies for Shrimp Farmers of Punjab” was organised by College of Fisheries, Guru AngadDev Veterinary and Animal Sciences (GADVASU), under the leadership of Dr.PrakashSingh Brar, Dean, College of Veterinary Sciences, Principal Investigator- ICAR, NAHEP, Institutional Development Project (IDP).

Shrimp is a highly remunerative aquaculture export commodity. In Punjab, area under shrimp farming increased from 15 ha in 2017 to 130 ha in 2019 and was expected to cross 200 ha mark in 2020, if the COVID pandemic would have not hit the world to lock down. The total supply chain from shrimp seed production to processing and export has been badly affected.

Hence, the webinar was organised to foster resurgence among the bemused shrimp farmers of Punjab and Haryana. Fisheries students also participated in the event to understand the impact of ongoing lockdown on shrimp industry from farmer and industry perspectives, so as to develop a better vision to tackle such situations in future.

An eminent shrimp entrepreneur cum industrialist Dr. Manoj Sharma, Director Mayank Aquaculture Private Limited, Surat (Gujarat), apprised the participants of Indian shrimp industry scenario and strategies to sustainability. He emphasized that demand for food will never subside and international demand will surge once export is resumed. With the message “Food is a Necessity; Not an Option”, dilemma trapped farmers were advised to stock their ponds, as food production has been affected worldwide and their crops will definitely fill the gap, both at national and international levels.

Dr. Meera D. Ansal, College of Fisheries highlighted that dependence of shrimp industry on export is the root cause of uncertainties and can be ameliorated if a strong domestic market is there to buffer such crisis. She advised the farmers to wait for another 30-45 days; as one crop can be harvested before the month of November, even if the ponds are stocked by 30th June. Farmers were further suggested to form an association to overcome such unforeseen calamities in future.

A fruitful question answer session motivated the farmers to beat the ongoing conundrum. The webinar was coordinated by Dr. Prabjeet Singh and Dr. S.N. Datta, Assistant Professors, College of Fisheries. Dr. Kulbir Singh Sandhu, Dean, College of Fisheries, communicated that ‘Industry- Farmer- Academia Interfaces’ are needed for bracing ties within the trio for economic prosperity.