The Union Territory of Lakshadweep is gearing up to break its geographical isolation from the mainland and boost itself as a sought-after brand in the global market. The territorial administration has drawn up an ambitious plan to market its exotic products, ranging from rare traditional delicacies to tourism products, via branding, Lakshadweep administrator, Farooq Khan told reporters here on the sidelines of the valedictory of the two-day National Municoy Festival.
He noted that the extensive branding would not only help boost the tourism prospects of the islands, but also get good outside markets for its less-expensive but quality rich products made by local islanders. Besides tourism, the islands have immense potential in fishing also, which has not been exploited at all because of the distance involved and logical shortcomings, Khan said.
If the present plan is implemented well, the pure virgin coconut oil made by locals, the ‘mass,’ an exclusive dried tuna delicacy, and organic coconut besides various tourism products of the island will get global demand, he added. “We are planning a branding of Lakshadweep and are in the process of engaging some real professionals in the field of brand projection for Lakshadweep,” he said.
“Brand projection will help us not only in tourism, but also in marketing these products, which we would like to present as premium products,” he added. He said the picturesque Lakshadweep islands in the Arabian sea, may be the only islands of this country which has been kept free from all kinds of chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides.
“Our land has not been affected by any chemical pollutants. Here, we generally have organic fruit in the shape of coconuts. Its pure virgin oil, which is made here, and it also can be exported in huge quantities,” he said.
People here don’t use chemical poisons to kill rats which harm their coconut products, he said adding better marketing of organic products would fetch three times the price than ordinary ones.
Detailing the branding project, Khan, a former IPS officer said, the market for these products was very limited in the islands, and the administration was keen to introduce and propagate these stuffs through social media and visual and print medias in all possible manner. “What we require is a proper action plan for exploiting it as well as introducing it to the public,” he said.
In mainland India, many are unaware of the existence of Lakshadweep. So, how do they know about the organic products of Lakshadweep? he asked. To tap the potential of tuna, the most lavishly available edible fish variety in Lakshadweep waters, Khan said the administration has already submitted a proposal to buy or arrange a mother ship on their own to help enhance tuna catch by local fisherfolk. “We can supply catch about one lakh plus ton of tuna and other good varieties of fish from these waters ever year without affecting the ecological balance of the sea,” he said. As poor connectivity and geographical isolation is the main issues faced by the islands, the administration is planning to introduce seaplane facility in the archepalago.
“We are in the process of examining the possibility of having a seaplane operational. So that, it would be a great advantage to the tourists as well as the people of our island for being transported from the one island to another,” he said.
As those would be mostly privately operated, cost would be slightly high, he said while dismissing fears that seaplanes could harm the environment. The administrator further said that they are in the process of going head-on with their own prospective plan for a shipping fleet. “It has already been approved in principle by the government of India. And shortly, the orders for building these required ships would be placed,” he said. However, Khan said he was against the concept of building more small airports to improve air connectivity.
On tourism front, which is the major revenue earner of the archepalago, the administrator said his focus is on ‘high-end low volume’ tourism. “The islands can take only a limited load.”