MPEDA creates ecosystem to sustain gains in seafood exports

PTI | | Updated on: Jul 27, 2022
Marine products exports from India reached an all-time high of $7,740 million in 2021-22.

Marine products exports from India reached an all-time high of $7,740 million in 2021-22. | Photo Credit: MUSTAFAH KK

MPEDA sets a target of ₹1 lakh crore in turnover by 2025

Buoyed by the revival of seafood export in FY22, after a couple of years of downturn, the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has set a target of ₹1 lakh crore in turnover by 2025.

For this, the MPEDA is taking a new approach by creating an ecosystem to sustain the gains in the long-term through a basket of diverse marine products.

“We had difficult times from 2018-19. There was a general downturn that happened. Then, Covid-19 came. Logistics issues were another thing that hit the sector. But last year, our exports picked up,” MPEDA Chairman, K N Raghavan noted.

Raghavan, who was on a two-day visit to Andhra Pradesh for field visits, spoke about a host of issues concerning the marine products sector.

Revival of the sector

“Marine products exports from India reached an all-time high of $7,740 million in 2021-22, despite the heavy odds. In the previous two years, Covid-19 affected the exports but last year, it picked up. That was because of good resilience. Generally, there was a revival in the sector,” he pointed out.

Raghavan said the revival took place despite the challenges on the logistics side, “which was quite a problem”.

“If you look at all sectors…everyone was talking about the increase in freight charges and non-availability of containers. That the (marine products) sector could surmount these difficulties and do well is indeed creditable,” he added.

“We have now set a target of ₹1 lakh crore by 2025. We are working towards it. We are trying to create an ecosystem in which the gains could be sustained and improved upon in the years to come. That would be a more important approach to it,” the MPEDA chief said.

Aqua Quarantine Facility

Noting that the L Vannamei variety emerged as a “very good product”, Raghavan said they were looking at other fish varieties like mud crab, sea bass, GIFT, etc.

“It is always better to have a basket. Vannamei has served us well, it is still a very good product. But, at the same time, we should have some amount of diversity. So, we are looking at Aqua Quarantine Facility for fishes per se. All this will give us a good basket that can sustain us, even if there is a setback for one (variety),” he said.

A new AQF would soon come up near Tuni in Andhra Pradesh, he said.

Enrolment and traceability

On traceability issue, the MPEDA Chairman said enrolment of aqua farms was going on.

“Enrolment is precisely for promotion of export by ensuring traceability. That’s the reason we went for enrolment and that has been successful,” Raghavan noted.

“An importing nation wants to see if we have the processes for tracing if something went wrong. They can always accept that things can go wrong. But the important thing is…do we have the processes to understand how and why things went wrong and the mechanism to correct it. Traceability helps us in that,” he pointed out.

The European Union Commission would be visiting India in September for inspection.

Referring to Andhra Pradesh, which now tops the country in export of marine products, the MPEDA chief said the state “has really grown” in terms of hatcheries and (aqua) farms.

A proactive approach by the state government was also contributing to the sector’s growth.

“The environment is quite conducive in AP. The state has been active in checking the antibiotic menace. The state government has been acting promptly by taking required measures to prevent difficulties and address the challenges,” Raghavan said.

He said cluster farming also developed well in the state. Currently, over 300 societies are now under the National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture, headquartered in Kakinada. The state also has about 380 hatcheries.

Asked about the proposal to establish a product-specific Marine SEZ in AP, the MPEDA Chairman said it was “not on the table right now”.

“There is now a re-look into the SEZ policy as a new legislation is on the anvil,” he said. PTI DBV ROH ROH

Published on July 27, 2022
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