Visakhapatnam, Sept 24: Driven by a soaring demand for its delectable, protein-rich shrimp in international markets, India’s mega bucks seafood industry’s export projections of USD10 billion by 2020 is ‘distinctly attainable’ despite the current downswing in global economies, a top official said here today.
Dr. A. Jayathilak, Chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), said seafood exports have been increasing at a rate of 20-22% during the last seven-eight years despite the recessionary trend in global markets.
“We have bucked the recessionary trend; it is possible for India’s seafood industry to achieve the export projections of USD10 billion by 2020,” he said during the ongoing three-day 20th edition of India International Seafood Show (IISS) which began here on Friday.
Pointing out that in shrimp aquaculture industry, the feed constitutes 60 per cent of cost of production, he said there is an imperative need to develop cheaper shrimp feed to cut the production cost and help small and marginal farmers, who contribute to the bulk of coastal aquaculture.
“MPEDA provides a one-time subsidy of Rs 1 crore per factory which manufactures shrimp feed. The subsidy is given under the Technology Upgradation Scheme and Infrastructure Development Scheme. A similar subsidy is given to those companies which will enter the area of value addition,” the MPEDA chairman said.
“We would like more and more entrepreneurs to enter these areas and make it in India. More hatcheries will create more demand for shrimp feed. Similarly, value addition will ensure better export prospects for the seafood industry,” he added.
Researchers in Chennai at Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) have developed feed for shrimps, which is being dominated by a few foreign companies. Branded as Vannamei Plus, it is cost-effective and meets the output levels of international brands.
Dr. Jayathilak said increased production of Vannamei and Black Tiger Shrimp, diversification of aquaculture species, particularly of Mud Crab and ornamental fishes, quality control measures, and increase in infrastructure facilities for value added products, are expected to achieve the industry’s export targets.
Shrimp accounts for 66 per cent value of marine products export basket while frozen shrimp is the mainstay of India's export earnings. Exports of dried, chilled and live items are also showing an upward trend.
The US and South-east Asia are the major importers of Indian seafood and frozen shrimp continued to be the major export item last year, followed by frozen fish. The increased export of India’s shrimp pickles and shrimp curries by the US can spawn more aquaculture and processing in shrimp and also in other varieties such as the Asian Seabass, Pangasius and Cobia, which enjoy steady demand there.
India, the second largest aquaculture producer in the world, is the largest supplier of shrimp to the US, the second largest to Europe and the fourth largest to Japan. “This is possible due to the country’s success in meeting stringent international regulatory requirements and adapting to best global practices,” he said
Export of marine products during August this year recorded an increase of 16.07% in the rupee value, 13.29% in quantity and 10.73% in US $ earnings as compared to exports during the same period last year. Similarly, cumulative exports during April-August 2016 also recorded an increase of 16.63% in the rupee value, 10.91% in US $ earnings and 6.74% in quantity as compared to the corresponding period last year.
“Considering these statistics, India can expect its seafood exports to increase nearly 20% to USD 5.6 billion in 2016-17,” he said, adding: “Aquaculture has been growing exponentially in states like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra and Gujarat. We need to sustain the growth momentum. We also need to effectively counter competition from countries like Thailand and Vietnam by boosting production and adopting global standard marketing strategies such as certification, traceability and eco-labelling.”
The Sea Freight Assistance Scheme, launched by MPEDA in 2009, has augmented the export of value added products. There is also a need to bring more areas of brackish water under aquaculture. In India, around 11, 90,900 ha area has been identified as suitable for brackish water aquaculture. However, only 165,203 ha (13.9%) area is presently developed for farming. “We need to address this issue as the country has a great potential for the growth of marine products exports,” he pointed out.
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