When the Indian sea cucumbers were first introduced into the country in the 1950s, they were widely eaten.
But over the years, their popularity has waned.
Now, they’re a niche product, but one that is growing in popularity among farmers.
The Indian government is also working to encourage local farmers to use the sea cucumuses as an edible plant.
“We’re looking to develop new varieties and get them in farmers’ hands,” says Pranav Jha, secretary of the department of fisheries.
“It’s a great opportunity to develop a new product.
We have a huge demand.”
So far, Jha says, India has seen an average of 6 million tonnes of sea cucums imported into the island nation every year.
They are grown by local farmers, but the plant can be harvested by the Indian navy.
“The sea cucumbums are a very good source of protein,” says Jha.
“They provide about 15% of the protein for Indian ships, so we need to improve the supply chain.”
But he adds that the navy will have to adapt to a new food security challenge.
“These sea cucumbs will have a long shelf life,” he says.
“There is a huge difference between what they consume, and what they grow.”
This article was produced by The Times.
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