The first seafood processing plant in the cooperative sector at Dighode-Kanthavali in Raigad district was inaugurated by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar last week. Established by the SasoonDock Matsyodhyog Sahakari Society, a fisheries cooperative society, the plant will cater to the fishing community in Mumbai as well as Thane and Raigad districts. The plant was built with financial assistance of Rs 15 crore from the National Cooperative Development Corporation and Rs 51 lakh from the state government.
According to T K Patil, managing director, Sasoon Dock Matsyodhyog Cooperative Society, "Our main goal is to make this business sustainable. When local fishermen sell their catch wholesale, they rarely get a fair price. Since seafood is a perishable commodity, they are compelled to sell the fish to commission agents at low prices. We want to put a stop to this. Our plant is of international standard. We are planning to process and preserve seafood to sell it in international markets, which will help fishermen earn more money."
"The cooperative society is already in the business of ice and transport. In both the businesses, we have maintained our standard. We hope to maintain the same standard in the new venture, too," he said.
The society has 391 members who will supply seafood to the new plant. Besides, 1,100 boat owners have agreed to use the facility," Patil said, adding, "This is a unique project, because it is for the fishermen and by the fishermen. We hope that this will prove to be the beginning of a new era in the cooperative movement."