Agri Business

Marine exporters pooh-pooh Kuwait’s ban on Indian shrimp

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 09, 2018

Seafood exporters have downplayed the reported ban imposed by Kuwait on Indian shrimps, saying that “it will not have any significant impact on the country’s seafood basket”.

“It is hardly anything and not even worth talking about,” said a leading seafood exporter when asked on the impact on the ban. Kuwait is not a major market and it imports only a limited quantity from India and even if there is a ban, it will not affect the seafood sector here, he added.

There were reports that Kuwait had imposed a ban on imports of fresh, chilled, frozen and processed shrimps from India and Texas due to some suspected cases of diseases.

However, repeated attempts to contact Marine Products Exports Development Authority (Mpeda) to find out the cause for the ban failed and the officials are reluctant to offer any comment.

On the contrary, the seafood export fraternity is hoping that the 10-15 per cent growth this season will help India cross the $6-billion mark this fiscal.

They attribute the better performance to good Vannamei crop and to the robust demand. Already up to September, trade has registered 16 per cent and there has been a revival in demand from major importers, especially from the US and South-East Asia. The Christmas season also bodes well.

It may be recalled that the robust demand for frozen shrimp had enabled seafood exports to touch 11.34 lakh tonnes worth $5.70 billion in FY17; 65-70 per cent of the export basket comprised Vannamei shrimps.

However, Alex K Babu, an exporter and owner of online seafood store Daily Fish, warned that depending on a single product (70 per cent of India’s seafood export demand was met from a single product) poses a risk in the wake of any possible crop loss. Therefore, there is need for de-risking the portfolio.

Kamlesh Gupta, Founder Chairman, WestCoast Group, a fully integrated seafood exporter, pointed out that the US continues to be one of the largest markets for India and the trend will continue. Due to the EU’s issues with the quality of shrimps from India, the country will see a decline in exports to the Continent, he said. Thanks to India’s processing facilities and quality production, Japan is once again looking to India for quality shrimps. “We see Japan as a market opening up for India in a big way in the near future,” Gupta added.

Published on November 29, 2017

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