Durai Murugan, secretary, Shrimp Association of Pattukottai and managing director of New Diamond Aqua Enterprise told FE that market price for shrimps has fallen by 60 % in the last four months and if the trend continues for next two months, a 20 % drop in production could be expected this year.
Consistent and rapid decline of shrimp prices are causing concern among farmers and could lead to lower production as farmers harvest smaller count shrimps to cut costs. Market prices have already fallen below the production cost and could dampen the enthusiasm for shrimp production among farmers. Based on a buoyant shrimp market, the Indian aquaculture production during the current fiscal was estimated to touch a record 7 lakh tonne from nearly 6 lakh tonne last year, Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) sources said. Durai Murugan, secretary, Shrimp Association of Pattukottai and managing director of New Diamond Aqua Enterprise told FE that market price for shrimps has fallen by 60 % in the last four months and if the trend continues for next two months, a 20 % drop in production could be expected this year.
“Prices of shrimp have fallen to historic low levels and is currently below the production cost. Farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu suffered losses in the first crop of 2018.Most of the farmers are resorting to early harvest to cut down the losses and the total volume of shrimp production could also fall considerably,” he said. “Currently there are too many people and countries producing aquaculture shrimps. Supply is robust from countries which had some time ago suffered due to diseases. The demand would be sluggish till the next holiday season and the market would be under pressure,”Anwar Hashim, managing director of Abad Fisheries and former president of SEAI told FE. “Price decline is seem more pronounced in higher counts and lesser in smaller counts. Farmers are now harvesting smaller counts and that too early to control the cost. Risk is less for smaller counts as they are mostly used for value addition, say for fish fillets and breaded shrimps,” he added.
“There is a panic mode among farmers to harvest due to falling prices. Going ahead, we might not see much of desired sizes in future. Most of the harvest from Andhra are sizes of 100 to 80 counts and 100 count rate has fallen from Rs 230 to Rs 170 per kg. Farmers are in no mood to restock with these prevailing prices and slow growth,” Murugan said. Indian aquaculture had boomed in the past few years due to disruption in supply from Thailand when the shrimps caught the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) disease during 2011.The disease came to Thailand shrimp farms after sweeping through Vietnam following its emergence in China in 2009.The production declined sharply and helped many countries, including India, to replace Thailand in the global market. India is the second-largest fish producer in the world after China and accounts for nearly 6% of global fish production.