January 29, 2009
India Aqua Weekly: Kerala project to improve processed seafood quality (week ended Jan 24, 2009)
An eFeedLink Exclusive
Price Summary
There was a mixed response in prices of fish varieties in the last week.
Major gainers in the last week were Hilsa and Rahu (local) and Rahu (Andhra) with only Rs.1, 500, Rs.1, 000 and Rs.700 per 100 kgs.
The Prawn 'B' category variety was the only looser with Rs.500 per 100 kgs. 
However, the other varieties of Prawn Zambo with 'A', and 'C' categories remained stable compared to last week's prices.
Market Analysis
Seafood exporters are setting up a common processing centre at Ambalappuzha in coastal Kerala, the first of its kind in the country aimed at raising sanitary benchmarks to global standards.
The Rs.30.6 million project is expected to begin by August and will be established jointly by industry lobby group Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) and trade promotion body Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).
The Central Government will involve at least 135 small pre-processing centres, which together account for foreign exchange earnings of Rs.13, 800 million a year, said SEAI secretary Sandu Jojesph. The foundation stone for the centre was laid on Sunday.
The move to raise the quality of the processed seafood is expected to burnish foreign exchange earnings, as well as improve living standards of the roughly 15, 000 people who make a living from work such as peeling shrimp. These workers work about 100 days a year on average.
The Centre will allow for three shifts a day, with 500 workers to a shift. Joseph estimated that the Centre will bring in benefits of an additional Rs.300 million to the work force. Workers currently make about Rs.100 million annually from peeling shrimp.
Peeling sheds are now privately owned, with the majority working out of homes that are largely not monitored for hygiene or quality standards. Last year, a team from the European Union, a large shrimp importer, visited some of these sites as part of an annual inspection and was dissatisfied with the prevailing conditions, Joseph said.
Earlier attempts by MPEDA to offer financial assistance to shed owners to upgrade their facilities did not succeed as most did not even have sufficient land to meet basic norms. In fact, MPEDA recognizes only seven of the units, a certification it gives if minimum standards are met.
The proposed processing centre common facilities meeting international benchmarks, such as an ice plant, machinery for effluent and water treatment, a chilling room and testing laboratory.
SEAI, which will manage the centre, will contribute Rs.3.5 million MPEDA will contribute Rs.2.5 million and the remaining Rs.24.6 million will be funded through Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development of Exports, a government agency.  
On the other hand, about 10 percent decrease in exports of aqua produced was registered during the financial year 2007-2008.
Total exports came down to US$1.9 billion due to global meltdown, effects of which are seen in the yearly results.
The Chairman of Marine Produce Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Mr. G. Mohan Kumar said, "Prominently exports were affected due to global meltdown of economy, particularly in countries like United States of America and European Union, which are the prominent buyers of our aqua produce. However, the export income increased by three percent due to weak rupee against dollar."   
Mr. Kumar further told that the price of Indian produced aqua decreased due to reduced demand in the international market, which has forced Indian exporters to supply their aqua produce in the world market, now a day on credit.
Giving details of market percentage, G. Mohan Kumar told that out of the total aqua produced in India, share of exports to European Union was 35 percent, to Japan 16 percent followed by USA with 13 percent.
During the year 2007-2008; 541, 701 tonnes of aqua produce were exported with 52 percent share of shrimps and prawn, which were the highest registered commodity in seafood exports.
Anti-dumping duty imposed by US was the reason affecting exports from India. However, a favourable decision announced by the WTO may increase aqua exports this year, the chairman concluded.
Market Forecast
Prices of fisheries are likely to remain stable with a slight variation in prices in the coming week as compared to the current week.

Weekly transacted prices of major seafood species in India


Prices as Jan 17, 2009
(Rs/ 100 kg)

Prices as Jan 24, 2009
(Rs/ 100 kg)

Price change
(Rs/ 100 kg)


Rs,    22, 500

Rs,    24, 000

 +   1, 500 

Rahu (Andhra)

Rs.      5, 000

Rs.      5, 700


Rahu (Local)

Rs.      8, 000 

Rs.      9, 000

 +   1, 000

Prawn zambo a

Rs.    30, 000

Rs.    30, 000


Prawn zambo b

Rs.    20, 500

Rs.    20, 000


Prawn zambo c

Rs.    12, 500 

Rs.    12, 500


US$1 = Rs. 48.9108  (Jan 29, 2009) 

All rights reserved. No part of the report may be reproduced without permission from eFeedLink.