During a recent state visit to Himachal Pradesh, Ambassador Kamsvåg and Commercial Counsellor Tryti visited a Norad-funded aquaculture project implemented the 1980’s and 1990’s. The objective of the project was to develop modern commercial fish farming of rainbow trout in Himachal Pradesh. Norway provided infrastructure, technical advice and financial support. Raju and Dennis, two of the Embassy’s drivers, recall picking up Norwegian eyed ova (eggs) from the airport in New Delhi and transporting the project’s most precious cargo to Patlikhual several times during the 1990’s.
The Embassy delegation was impressed with the project’s results. There was no commercial rainbow trout farming in Himachal Pradesh before the project. Today the state has 765 units and 368 trout growers. The number of trout hatcheries has also increased from four small ones to thirteen.
The rainbow trout value chain has become an important source of employment in Himachal Pradesh. We were informed that it has generated decent and stable incomes for many people who would otherwise likely have found substantially less gainful employment.
Rainbow trout is an expensive product in India and the fish is primarily sold to high-end hotels and restaurants in New Delhi. The delegation was astounded to learn that the price of rainbow trout in India is similar to the price of salmon in Norway!
In spite of good results, there is a current need to modernise technology and production processes throughout the rainbow trout value chain. It was therefore discussed whether a mutually beneficial collaboration on technology and research on commercial terms could be explored. This will be followed up by Innovation Norway.
The Ambassador commented that “We actively follow up past development assistance projects in order to learn from both successes and failures. In this case, I am pleased to note that Norwegian development aid has had a catalytic effect in developing the rainbow trout value chain. It has spurred private investments, which in turn have generated employment for the state of Himachal Pradesh.”