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Seafood exports may cross $6 billion this year

Seafood exports may cross $6 billion this year

Seafood exports may cross $6 billion this year

KOCHI: Indian seafood export is all set to cross $ 6 billion in the current year, backed by rising demand for shrimp in the wake of dwindling supplies from other Asian countries. 

The US leads the way for buyers during the Christmas and New Year season. “It is the peak season and there is increased demand. The prices are good too,’’ said Shivam Gupta, director of West Coast Fine Foods India. India is currently the top supplier of shrimps in the world, overtaking Ecuador, according to Globefish, the information and analysis wing on fisheries and aquaculture of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The report said Indian farmed shrimp production had reached 5 lakh tonnes last year, with vannamei shrimp, the most preferred variety, touching 4.06 lakh tonnes. 

Thailand, which used to be the largest producer of farmed shrimp, is recovering from a viral attack on its farms a few years ago. Globefish said the country is expecting 5% growth from its last year’s output of 2.5 lakh tonnes. But farms in Malaysia and Indonesia are still plagued by diseases. 
India exported $5.78 billion (?37,871crore) worth of marine products in 2016-17 with the US accounting for 30% share marginally ahead of southeast Asia. “There is a rising demand for shrimps of small and medium sizes. Unlike Europe, buyers in the US go for bulk purchases. It is possible to ship 100-200 containers,’’ said Tara Ranjan Patnaik, VP of Seafood Exporters Association of India. 

Among the Asian countries, China and Vietnam are the major buyers. “Earlier, Vietnam used to re-export a lot of Indian consignments to the US. Though they still import, we now compete with them for selling shrimps to US buyers by offering better quality material,’’ said Patnaik. 
Indian production of vannamei shrimp is predicted to go over 5 lakh tonnes in the current fiscal. With the increase in vannamei shrimp output in the past few years, seafood companies are scaling up their production facilities. 


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