Business / Industry Sectors
Israeli scientist develops a breakthrough technology
22/06/2015
An Israeli scientist working from a laboratory in the Israeli desert of Negev has developed a breakthrough technology which could impart a significant impact on the revenues of the freshwater prawn (scampi) farmers in the salubrious lake districts of Kerala.

Amir Sagi, a professor at Ben Gurion University of the Negev has developed the technology to grow all-male freshwater prawn population, which could grow three times larger than the female ones over a six month period. Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) had been working closely with Sagi in introducing this technology among farmers in major prawn farming states of India.

According to Sagi, the most important aspect of the technology is that it is not genetically modified. "Totally normal technology, but producing only male prawns that was the concept," he said.

"During 2006 we started working on the gene and then by 2007 we discovered the new technology. Initially we used scampi from Israel. Then we started working on three best different prawn lines of India - Gujarat, West Bengal and Kerala. We are working with Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) and MPEDA and have found that the scampi from West Bengal and Kerala are the best in the country," Sagi said. Apart from India, China, Vietnam and Myanmar are currently using Sagi's technology to boost their productivity.

Sagi and his team are now working on a similar technology to be used for brackishwater prawns. "For the seawater prawns, the females grow faster than males, hence you need to develop all-female technology. We are currently working on that, which will be ready sometime in the future," he said.

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