The reduction in shrimp aquaculture duty will reflect in the lower cost of feed, seed and other inputs, spurring further growth to help achieve the ’ export target by 2025, said K Riji John, Vice-Chancellor, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos).

However, the budget did not mention any reduction of power tariff for the sector, which can impact its growth , he said.

In shrimp aquaculture, nearly 55 per cent of the expenditure is towards feed and power charges. The hatchery production of seeds depends greatly on the import of Artemia cysts, feed, feed ingredients and chemicals.

Local consumption

At present, almost 90 per cent of the shrimp produced is exported. A reduction in shrimp aquaculture duty and the consequent reduction in cost of shrimp would help increase local consumption, he said.

John also pointed out that shrimp aquaculture production had touched almost 800,000 tonnes in 2019. However, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic reduced it to around 700,000 tonnes in 2020.

India exported 1.149 million tonnes of seafood, valued at ₹43,717 crore, in 2020-21, of which shrimps made up almost ₹32,520 crore. The country has set an export target of ₹1 lakh crore by 2025, he added.

Advantage hatcheries

An aquaculture expert in Andhra Pradesh said that the import duty on the brood stock of both Vannamei and Monodon have been removed, which is a boon to the hatchery sector. Previously it was 10 per cent. Hatcheries importing brood stock will save on cost, he said.

However, he added that fishmeal, feed supplements (used by feed plants), larval shrimp feeds and fish feed should also have been given duty rebates to enable the sector to grow competitively. Likewise, the GST on Artemia should have been reduced.

Sustainable products

‘We feel quite positive that elimination of import duty rates on shrimp brood stock, some of the fresh food items and Artemia will reduce the cost of production of shrimp larvae and marine fish larvae. Recognition of algal oil for aqua feed manufacturing is also a step in the right direction and will enable production of sustainable and certified aquaculture products,” said Victor Suresh, President, Society of Aquaculture Professionals.

The sector was expecting reduction in duties for imported feeds and feed ingredients, but this has not happened. Global supply chain disruptions have escalated the cost of several raw materials, therefore a relief would have been welcomed, he added.

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