India’s seafood export story is getting bleak as sporadic viral attacks in some shrimp farms and the government’s demonetisation move are causing a temporary setback.
Exports, which saw an uptick in the first few months of this year, are taking a beating now following sporadic viral attacks on cultured shrimp in south Tamil Nadu and Andhra
Pradesh. Cultured shrimp comprise 70% of the value of total seafood exports from India which stood at Rs.30,421 crore in 2015-16. “It is just temporary and often happens when the weather changes. But overall production of shrimp in farms has been good. The current crisis can create a shortage in the market considering that production isn’t on full swing in other major producing countries like Thailand and Indonesia,“ said S. Muthukaruppan, former president of the Society of Aquaculture Professionals. India continues to be one of the leading suppliers of cultured shrimp as South East Asian countries are yet to recover fully from the diseases that struck their farms a couple of years ago. Seafood exports showed a decline in 2015-16 with a drop in prices of shrimp in the world market. But the loss has been made good in the first few months of the current year. According to Seafood Exporters Association of India Secretary General Elias Sait, the first six months saw the value of shipment increase by 15% in rupee terms and 5% in quantity over the previous year. Shrimp prices have rebounded this year fetching good income for aquaculture farmers. “Indian shrimps fetched Rs.250 to 700 per kg for various varieties,“ Muthukaruppan added. Despite hiccups, shrimp production from farms is expected to touch over 4 lakh tonnes in the current year. Last year it was around 3.5 to 4 lakh tonnes. “This is because of the addition of farms in West Bengal, Odisha and Gujarat,“ Sait said. Andhra Pradesh is the leading producer of aquaculture shrimp followed by Tamil Nadu. Following demonetisation measures in November, exporters are finding it difficult to pay wages. “There has also been a decline in catch from the sea. Fishermen are used to cash payments at landing centres. We are having a tough time over the last one and a half months,’’ said Premachandra Bhat,
MD, Mangla Marine Exim.
(Source: The Economic Times, Mumbai, 21 December 2016)