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Odisha’s economy is predominantly agriculture driven. Exports from the mining industries remained a significant source of foreign exchange. However, over a period, aquaculture exports have also emerged as a lucrative possibility. It is a perfectly suitable sector considering the long coastline, rivers and water bodies, and labour intensive nature of the industry. From an individual or community level of operation, aquaculture developed the characteristics of the industry in the early 1970s.
This descriptive research paper investigates the history of the aquaculture industry in Odisha over the past 50 years. The aquaculture industry in Odisha started two decades later than Kerala (another southern state of India), in the form of an experiential learning and opportunity-seeking process by the early players. The subsequent dominance of local players, consolidation, and expansion of the export market proves the natural resource advantage of the State.
The study emphasises the contribution of the sector to the state economy. The adoption of healthy consumption habits, large untapped Indian market, value and values-addition in the product, and evolving traceability requirements for exports are some of the significant challenges facing the industry.
Despite being an important sector for the State, this sector has not received due attention from academic research. Technology adoption practices, productivity improvement, internal competitions, development of industry structure, and role of policy could be some areas for future research.
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