Agri Business

Covid impact: Sluggish demand hits India’s seafood exports in 2019-20

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on August 17, 2020

Seafood exports saw 7.39 per cent drop in quantity and 0.74 per cent in US dollar value during 2019-20

Covid-19 has taken a toll on India’s seafood exports, which have witnessed a 7.39 per cent drop in quantity and 0.74 per cent in US dollar value during 2019-20.

The country shipped 12,89,651 tonnes valued at ₹46,662.85 crore ($6.68 billion) against 13,92,559 tonnes worth ₹46,589.37 crore ($6.72 billion) in 2018-19.

KS Srinivas, Chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority (Mpeda), attributed the decline to sluggish demand in major export markets due to the pandemic that led to cancellation of several orders, reduced and delayed payments, slowdown of cargo movements and difficulty in getting new orders. The decline in sea catch along the west coast on account of reduced fishing days has also been a reason for the shortfall in quantity.

“We missed the $7-billion target, though not by a fair distance. However, exports are now likely to witness an uptick as lockdowns have been eased globally and there is an increased sale of value added products in retail chains. Mpeda’s vision is to take Indian seafood exports to ₹1 lakh crore by 2030,” he said.

US, China key markets

Frozen shrimp remained the major export item in terms of quantity and value followed by frozen fish while the US and China turned out to be the major importers. Frozen shrimp, which earned ₹34,152.03 crore ($4,889.12 million), retained its position as the most significant item in the seafood export basket.

The overall export of frozen shrimps during 2019-20 was pegged at 6,52,253 tonnes, fetching foreign exchange worth $4,889.12 million. The US, the largest market, imported (2,85,904 tonnes) of frozen shrimp, followed by China (1,45,710 tonnes), European Union (74,035 tonnes), Japan (38,961 tonnes), South-East Asia (34,439 tonnes), and the Middle East (32,645 tonnes).

The export of Vannamei shrimp increased from 4,18,128 tonnes to 5,12,189 tonnes. The US also turned out to be the major market for Black Tiger shrimp followed by Japan and the European Union.

Frozen fish, the second largest export item, fetched ₹3,610.01 crore ($513.60 million). However, the export of this variety declined by 34.11 per cent in quantity and 26.53 per cent in dollar value.

Export of frozen cuttlefish, pegged at 70,906 tonnes, showed a positive growth of 17.76 per cent in quantity, 1.71 per cent in rupee value and 1.45 per cent in dollar terms, and earned ₹2,009.79 crore ($286.40 million).

China emerged as the largest seafood export destination in terms of quantity with an import of 3,29,479 tonnes worth $1,374.63 million.

The European Union continued to be the third largest destination with frozen shrimp, the major item of exports. South-East Asia is the fourth largest market. However, overall exports to the countries in this region plummeted by 50 per cent in quantity, 53 per cent in rupee value and 54 per cent in dollar earnings. Japan continued to be the fifth largest importer with frozen shrimp continuing to be the major item of exports.

Published on August 17, 2020

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