November 6, 2013


India's shrimp prices soar 200% due to flood-affected supply


Floods in Odisha, India, caused by the severe cyclonic storm, Phailin, have disrupted the country's seafood exports, causing prices to increase 200% compared to 2012 as the sector suffers from a short supply of shrimps.


Odisha produces black tiger shrimp, a major export value item which has a significant demand in countries like Japan, UK and US.


"The price of shrimps which was ruling at US$3.23/kg during this time last year is now hovering at around US$10.20/kg. Prices have escalated on shortfall in production due to floods triggered by Phailin", said Gorachand Mohanty, the president of Seafood Exporters Association of India-Odisha region.


The shrimp farmers have estimated the total loss at US$56.5 million due to devastation wreaked by Phailin in Gopalpur, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts and flooding in Balasore district. More than 2,000 hectares of shrimp culture ponds are lost with a production capacity of almost 3,000 tonnes of shrimps, valued at more than US$48.5 million.


The state government was urged by the regional association to compensate and rehabilitate more than 2,000 farmers affected in the districts of Balasore, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Ganjam.


The undivided Balasore district along the coast of north Odisha accounts for about 80% of the total shrimp farming.


While farmers had started stocking of seeds, they have been badly affected by the floods, Mohanty said.


Under-realisation of prices, due to presence of ethoxyquin (an antioxidant) in shrimps and stricter guidelines for obtaining a Pre-Harvest Test Certificate (PHTC) from the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), had compelled farmers to take a cautious stand and go for low stocking.


Japan had imposed compulsory testing for ethoxyquin in shrimp consignments received from India on the basis of default standard of 0.01 parts per million (ppm).


The processing units in the state are also operating at lower capacities due to the non-availability of raw materials. Falling export prices have added to the problems.


In addition, the storm has  kept fishermen from venturing into the sea.