Shrimp exports to US likely to recover
Friday, January 24, 2020, 04:00 (GMT + 9)
India’s seafood exports are likely to gain from a recovery in US demand this month. The US was the largest buyer of Indian shrimps until last year when its offtake slipped because of oversupply and a dip in prices. China bought more shrimps from India than the US in 2019.
“The consumption of shrimps has gone up in the US and we are getting more orders from the country this month,” said Abdul Karim, MD of Chennai-based Wellcome Fisheries.
Prior to Christmas, the US demand was slack due to oversupply, forcing the exporters to go slow on shipments. Besides, the prices were also lower compared to the previous year.
“The prices have not improved much, but the prices at which we are buying from farmers have gone up,” Karim said. Shrimp growers are gearing up to stock the farms for the next harvest. As a result, there is a shortage in the market. The US has 33 per cent share in the Indian seafood exports, valued at over INR 46,500 crore (USD 6.5 billion). India produced 650 000 to 700 000 tonnes of farmed shrimp in 2018-19. While the industry is yet to assess the output size in the current year, it is expected to be lower because of various factors.
“All indications are there for a decline in production. Less supply from hatcheries, paucity of broodstock, higher feed prices, diseases and lower prices for shrimps have all affected the production,” said V Balasubramaniam, general secretary of Prawn Farmers Federation of India. Indian seafood exports to China were the highlight of the year. By November, exports had reached USD 1 billion, according to Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA). Though the supplies are on for the Chinese New Year towards the end of the month and the beginning of February, Indian exporters are facing some problems in China. China has started to monitor strictly for white spot syndrome virus in the seafood consignments. This even led to detention of some consignments.
“MPEDA chairman is meeting government officials in New Delhi today (Wednesday) to discuss the issue and we hope it will be solved,” said Alex K Ninan, managing partner of Baby Marine International.
Author: PK Krishnakumar /The Economic Times