February 10, 2014
India's seafood exports surge on rising vannamei production
In the first three quarters of the current financial year, the huge growth in production of the vannamei shrimp in Andhra Pradesh and other Indian States on the East Coast has helped seafood exports scale new heights.
Compared with the first three quarters of the last fiscal, exports of vannamei almost doubled in quantity to 1.34 lakh (1 lakh=100,000) tonnes from 69,000 tonnes. In dollar terms, the jump was US$1,474 million from US$540 million, an increase of 173% over the previous fiscal's first three quarters.
A little over a half of vannamei exports was to the US, while 16% was to South-East Asian countries.
Piggybacking on the splendid performance of vannamei and other frozen shrimps, the seafood sector is now scaling up its expectation on export earnings beyond the US$4.33-billion target for the entire fiscal.
According to the Marine Products Export Promotion Authority (MPEDA), export earnings have already topped US$3.66 billion.
Seafood exporters said that vannamei farming was fast expanding in Andhra Pradesh, the nerve-centre of shrimp culture. Vannamei production was also gaining in Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal as well as in Gujarat. Farmers' initiative, rather than institutional or government support, was driving the vannamei farming, they said.
Huge demand from the US and South-East Asia, remunerative prices and devastation of vast stretches of shrimp farms in leading cultured-shrimp producing countries is encouraging new farmers in the States on the East Coast to venture into vannamei.
MPEDA said that frozen shrimp made up a third of the seafood exports, while in dollar terms, the share was as high as 65%. Shrimp export in the three quarters was 2.29 lakh tonnes bringing in US$2,396 million. The percentage of increase over the same period in the previous year was 27.5%, while in dollar terms the jump was 70.5%. Of the total exports of shrimp, vannamei alone constituted 81% in terms of quantity.
The share of fish in the export basket was 30%, mainly cuttle fish and squid. According to MPEDA, 6.92 lakh tonnes of marine products were exported during April-December 2013.
The rupee value of the exports was INR21,829 crore (US$3.5 billion). In terms of quantity, the exports had marginally fallen, from 7.21 lakh tonnes in the corresponding period previously; but the rupee value was a big rise from INR14,811 crore (US$2.4 billion).