04 Nov 2017 06:03am IST
Govt likely to ban export of fish to cut prices. VRISHANK MAHATME delves deeper to discover how Goans do not get cheaper fish
The soaring retail prices of fish can be attributed to the multiple middlemen involved, as the catch exchanges hands from the trawlers before it reaches the Goan homes.
Although the authorities are trying hard to control the prices, all such efforts are going in vain due to the alleged nexus between the middlemen traders and fishermen groups, it is learnt.
Intermediaries are very important players in the market. Both the consumers and producers gain immensely from the role of middlemen, who ensure that there is a seamless flow of fish supply in the market by matching supply and demand.
Regardless of the important role they play, there are some disadvantages to having intermediaries in the distribution channel. As the goods are exchanged from one intermediary to the other, their prices inflate.
The state government has been providing subsidies to the traditional fishermen and trawler owners in crores of rupees but still Goans are not able to buy their favourite fish at cheaper rates.
However, traditional fishing communities of Goa too have expressed dissatisfaction stating that these middlemen traders purchase fish at very cheap rates from the trawler owners directly and then end up selling it at much higher rates, which in turn results in the fisherwomen selling the same fish to consumers at a much higher rates along with their profit margin.
“It’s because of the middlemen that the prices of fish are increased till it reaches the consumer. The middleman traders purchase 10 mackerels for Rs 30 but they will sell those for Rs 60 and then to keep our margin we have to sell the same at a little higher rate”, said Reena Fernandes, a fisherwoman from Caranzalem.
“The so-called fish traders who claim to be Goans are actually non-Goans and they have now begun to control the fish trade of Goa. The inflation in prices of fish in Goa is a result of the commission taken by agents and middlemen which can be as high as 20% of the fish sold,” said Vinod Phadte, a fisherman from Betim.
On the other hand, Olencio Simoes, General Secretary, Goenchea Ramponnkarancho Ekvott (GRE), said that the fishermen were not the ones controlling the fish price but the ‘fishing agent mafia’, and that the mafia enjoys the patronage of the politicians.
Since the ‘fishing agent mafia’ controls the prices, he said, the government must step in and control the price. “The mafias buy fish from the fishermen at a cheaper rate and sell it in the international market thereby depriving the Goans of reasonable and good quality fish,” he said. For this reason, he said, cutting of the subsidies to the fishermen is not the solution to the high rates of fish.
Surprisingly, trawlers owners have disclosed that agents or middlemen are involved normally to export or send fish to other states of the country and not for local market.