Agri Business

Aquaculture professionals see domestic promotion a way to increase farmed shrimp output

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on March 30, 2021

Voice concerns on over-dependence on US market

Experts in the Indian aquaculture industry have called for intensified focus on markets other than the US, and for promoting shrimp consumption in the domestic market to achieve the 1.5-million tonnes target of farmed shrimp production and a total marine product export revenue of $15 billion (₹1,08,000 crore) by 2025.

Voicing concern on the over-dependence on the US market that has remained stagnant, the Society of Aquaculture Professionals (SAP) said the country has to either develop its own programme or participate in a global programme to promote shrimp consumption in major markets. The society has brought out a white paper on ‘India’s Farmed Shrimp Sector in 2020’.

The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), the international body that promotes sustainable aquaculture, has put forward the idea of collective promotion of shrimp in the US by using a model used successfully by avocado fruit producers. SAP has requested the Indian government to study GAA’s proposal and decide whether it wants to support the proposal or develop an alternative plan.

There are also recommendations to regain markets in Europe, Japan and other countries and invest in a ‘Made in India’ shrimp branding that can distinguish India’s shrimp in a global market.

Advocating development of the domestic market for shrimp in India, SAP said that with a large population and increasing economic prosperity, shrimp as an easy-to-prepare food will win wider consumer acceptance, provided there is adequate market promotion.

SAP said a review of shrimp farming in India in 2020 reported a 19 per cent decline in production to about 650,000 tonnes from a record output of nearly 800,000 tonnes the previous year. If India needs to grow to the targeted production of 1.4 million tonnes by 2024, the industry stakeholders are unanimous that the government should take steps to resolve shrimp health issues on a priority basis; increase the carrying capacity of the ecosystems that support production; and expand and diversify markets.

In a virtual meeting conducted by SAP among industry stakeholders for a review of shrimp farming in India 2020, Anil Kumar, Joint Director of Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA), said Indian shrimp exports will immensely gain from the recent inclusion of seafood in the US dietary guidelines as it will raise the shrimp consumption

According to MPEDA, instances of antibiotic residues in farmed shrimps have significantly decreased in the last three years, which has resulted in less rejection of export consignments to the European Union. The rejections have come down to just four shipments from a high of 13 shipments in 2018 with nil rejection in the last six months, he said, adding that the removal of antibiotic testing for Black Tiger shrimp export by Japan is a positive development.

Elias Sait, the Secretary-General of the Seafood Exporters Association of India, said the enterprising nature of farmers has helped keep the production cost under control. The alternative to the export incentive scheme looks equally attractive and has exhorted stakeholders and the government to come up with a plan to support achieving the target of 1.5 million tonnes of farmed shrimp production.

Published on March 30, 2021

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