India’s shrimp exports are likely to double and touch $7 billion by 2022 in the wake of strong demand, high quality, improved product mix and increase in aquaculture area in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal.

According to the ratings agency Crisil, the country emerged as the biggest exporter of shrimps in FY16, garnering $3.8 billion in exports even as Vietnam clocked only $3 billion. The country’s performance assumes significance at a time when other Asian rivals such as Thailand, China are battling with structural issues and rising domestic consumption. Since 2010, shrimp production in Asia has been severely affected due to diseases, floods, labour issues and tightening environmental norms.

Vietnam’s production had declined by 40 per cent from peak levels due to the shortage of fresh water, salinity intrusion and illegal shrimp farming. Thailand, which was once the top exporter, is now ranked 5th after a 65 per cent plunge in production from peak levels. And in 2016 China’s shrimp production nosedived by 60 per cent even as its consumption more than doubled, rendering it a marginal exporter. In addition, these countries also faced significant quality challenges, said Crisil.

Maintaining quality

However, Indian exporters have in the past few years emphasised on lower-density shrimp farms to control diseases, while maintaining the quality across the value chain. What also helped was the use of resilient-specific, pathogen-free (SPF) brood-stock imported from the US. Consequently, between fiscal 2012 and 2017, the country’s shrimp production doubled, and helped grab the opportunity created by lower supplies from Asia.

To leverage opportunities, big Indian exporters are expanding infrastructure to cater to the increasing demand for value-added products from global retail chains and restaurants. This would push up exports of value-added products significantly.