Indian farmed shrimp production may be down by 20% this year
Marine products export from India is likely to be flat this year as production woes continue to plague the seafood sector with a supply crunch of farmed shrimp, which accounted for nearly 70% of Rs 45,000 crore seafood exports last year.
“The shrimp production was down due to late stocking and diseases in the eastern coast. The harvest in the west coast has also been no better,” said Rahul Kulkarni, director of WestCoast Fine Foods Pvt. Ltd, a major exporter.
Andhra Pradesh,the leading producer of farmed shrimp in the country, accounts for 60% of the national production. Lower prices for shrimps early this year impacted the stocking density in the farms, which along with occurrences of white spot diseases, resulted in poor harvest in the state.
Shrimp production in India touched 6 lakh tonnes last year but is expected to slow down in 2018-19. “We expect 15 to 20% drop in output. If prices had been good in June and July, the production would have gone up . Now they have started stocking more,’’ said S Muthukaruppan, past president of Society of Aquaculture Professionals.
Shrimp prices have rallied and are on par with that in last year. The steep depreciation of rupee against dollar is expected to bring more revenue to the exporters as well as the farmers. “The rupee has fallen from 65 to nearly 73 against dollar from last year, which is a significant drop,’’ Muthukaruppan said.
The US, the top buyer of Indian shrimp with 33%share of exports, was buying less in the first few months as it had excess stock. “The US has started buying aggressively now and the shipments for Christmas season started last month,’’ Kulkarni said. South East Asia is the next largest buyer of seafood from India. Detection of shrimp haemocyte iridescent virus (SHIV) in the farms of China and Thailand, a new kind of virus, is feared to push global shortage of shrimps, though at present it has low prevalence. Both these countries have just recovered from the disease early mortality syndrome that devastated farms a few years ago.
Shrimp supply from India, Ecuador and Indonesia increased after the shipments from China and Thailand fell. “The second crop from the farms in Andhra Pradesh will dictate the course of seafood export in the next few months, Kulkarni pointed out.
By BOA Bureau