Thursday, June 6, 2013

Maldive fish (Umbalakada) is cooked, smoked and hard dried tuna meat, traditionally processed in Maldives Island. It is an essential food ingredient of a number of Sri Lankan dishes such as Pol sambol, Seeni sambol, Polos etc. which act as a flavoring, thickening, and protein agent. Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellow fin tuna (Thunnus albacares) or frigate tuna (Auxis thazard) can be used to process Maldive fish. Sri Lanka is one of the oldest and most important tuna producing island nations in the Indian Ocean. Therefore many fisher communities in coastal area engage in Maldive fish production especially using their excess tuna fish catch. They utilize traditional methods and their Maldive fish produce is mainly used for domestic consumption. Therefore, in order to meet the local demand Maldive fish is imported in to Sri Lanka mainly from Maldive Island.

Maldive fish is one of the most unique and essential food ingredients in Sri Lankan cooking. There is no substitute product available for Maldive fish. Therefore Maldive fish is a highly price inelastic product that consumers tend to purchase Maldive fish though the price rises. In Sri Lanka, Maldive fish production is carried out as a cottage industry. Therefore the quantity of local Maldive fish production is negligible. Due to the inability for Maldive fish industry in the country to meet the local demand, Sri Lanka needs to import 6,000 to 8,000 metric tons of Maldive fish annually. Currently our country spends Rs.14 million to import the Maldive fish and other fish products. As a result now the market price of a kilo of Maldive fish is around Rs.2, 000. The price of Maldive fish in local market is ever increasing due to import tax, high foreign exchange rate and inflationHowever the primary consumers of Maldive fish range from low income to upper middle class income people in Sri Lanka. Due to high price of Maldive fish theses consumers unable to purchases Maldive fish for their consumption. The best way to overcome this barrier is to encourage the commercial scale Maldive fish production within the country in an organize manner. As a government incentive, there is a national programme to boost the present level of Maldive fish production in Sri Lanka. Therefore a business enterprise on Maldive fish production with improved quality and shelf life will be commercially viable, economically profitable and socially acceptable.

Maldive Fish 

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