Higher export of frozen shrimp to the United States is likely to take Indian seafood exports in the current fiscal to above $5.5 billion having crossed $4.72 billion in first 10 months. Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has set a target of $6 billion for the fiscal.
Exports during the first 10 months of the fiscal are seen higher by 5% in volume and 10% in value when compared with the corresponding period of last fiscal. During the last fiscal seafood exports touched $5 billion mostly on the strength of higher vannamei exports. India is the second largest fish producer in the world after China and accounts for nearly 6% of global fish production.
MPEDA sources said that 875,791 tonne of seafood was exported from the country during April 2014 to January 2015 valued at R28,084 crore as against 835,125 tonne valued at R25,402 crore during the previous year. There was a hike of 4.87% in volume terms and 10.56% in value terms. Exports in dollar terms were up by 11.84% to $4.72 billion, as compared to $4.22 billion.
Frozen shrimps continued as principal item in exports with 17.43% growth at 300,147 tonne, as compared to 255,603 tonne exported in the same period last year. Frozen shrimps account for 32.47 % of the total volume of seafood exported and 68.51% of the total revenue realised.
Vannamei shrimps were introduced in India during 2009 and have rapidly expanded relative to the traditional black tiger shrimps.
Last year, India exported nearly 1,70,000 tonne of vannamei which helped the export sector gain handsomely in most of the advanced markets due to the competitiveness of vannamei when compared to black tiger shrimps.
Exports to US, Japan and European Union are on the increase while exports to China is seen lower in both volume and value terms. US has the top market share in revenue with 26.42% share, followed by South East Asia with 25.69%, European Union with 20.77% and Japan with 8.97%.
Exports to US has increased by 10.64% and was the biggest market for Indian cultured shrimps with 42%.
India was forced to adopt vannamei or white shrimp due to competitive reasons. Black tiger shrimps have higher production costs and lower yields than vannamei. According to SEAI sources, vannamei costs $2.29 per kilogram to produce, which is only half the production cost for the Indian species. Prawn Farmers Federation of India reports that by 2015, vannamei farms could be as large as 1,50,000 ha (hectares) from the current 80,000 ha.