December 14, 2007


Indian shrimp exports faces threat from Thailand, China



India's shrimp exports are under threat from low-cost Litopenaeus Vannamei shrimp produced in Thailand, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.


Most of the shrimp importing nations, especially the US, prefer Vannamei shrimp to Indian Black Tiger variety in the 21-25 segment (1 kilogramme consists of 21-25 shrimps) because of lower prices.  


Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) reported that the average per kg price realisation of Indian shrimp has gone down in all varieties during the last two-three years.


The average price of Indian shrimp in the 21-25 segment decreased to INR399 (US$10.15) from INR495 (US$12.59) in 2005-06. 


A J Tharakan, president of SEAI said the lower cost of production in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and China threaten Indian exports. The average cost of production of Vannamei is INR90 (US$2.28) a kg while that of Black Tiger is over INR160 (US$4.07). 


The issue has become serious as shrimp was India's major item in the export basket, Tharakan said. The commodity has always fetched a higher unit value compared with other products such as frozen fish, cuttlefish and squid. 


Frozen shrimp contributes more that 53 per cent of the India's export earnings from marine products.


The country produces 150,000 tonnes of shrimps a year that mainly comprise Monodon (Black Tiger), Indicus (white) and Macrobrachium Rosenbergii (fresh water scampi) species.


China produces 650,000 tonnes, Thailand 450,000 tonnes, Indonesia 400,000 tonnes and Vietnam cultures 350,000 tonnes. Vannamei accounts for 90 percent of the global shrimp aquaculture. 


Tharakan said the government should allow Vannamei culture in the country in order to compete with other Asian nations. In spite of repeated pleas from SEAI, the government has not allowed aquaculture in this species citing ecological issues. 

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