Higher boost to shrimp farming to strengthen seafood exports
Indian Government is now taking steps to substantially boost domestic aquaculture shrimp production and projects a growth rate at 4.9 per cent annually during 2014-18.
This initiative takes place after the United States Commerce Department removed the anti-dumping duty on Indian shrimp during its final review, Business Standardreported.
“This will be beneficial to the farmers and help in the growth of the marine products industry in India,” pointed out K. Shivakumar, Consultant with the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).
To achieve the set aims, the Marine Products Exports Development Authority(MPEDA) is supporting shrimp farming through a cluster farming approach. More than 10,000 farmers have been organized into aquasocieties who are implementing ‘Better Management Practices’.
The aquasocieties are also helping the farmers to access credit, quality seeds, feeds and other inputs, reducing the burden of diseases and improving product quality.
“Aquaculture is a very significant area for marine exports as far as India is concerned and our efforts are geared towards greater technology inputs and product diversification in this area,” A Jayathilak, MPEDA Chairman commented.
Indian marine export organisations are now aiming for a seafood export target of USD 10 billion by 2020, more than double the USD 4.68 billion worth exported in 2015-16, being shrimp the most important export at USD 3.09 billion.
Official statistics have revealed that black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) dominates the export market. Last year this crustacean exports improved by 6.56 per cent in quantity but decreased by 30.35 per cent in US dollar earnings owing to the depressed global economic scenario. Total production was 71,400 tonnes.
One of the measures the Government has taken given the increased demand for this crustacean, especially in the US and Southeast Asia, is to set up more broodstock multiplication centres in the country.
“Setting up of a nucleus breeding centre in India, like the one in Hawaii in the US, is seriously being looked at and is likely to come about in a year or two,” stressed Jayathilak.
Another important Indian seafood export is giant tiger prawns, which are native to the coasts of the Arabian peninsula, Australia, Indonesia, south and southeast Asia and South Africa and are abundantly available or cultured on the West Bengal and Orissa coasts.
For years, Thailand dominated the shrimp export market to the US but in 2009, a disease called Necrotising Hepatopancreatitis (early mortality syndrome) proved to be a major problem for Thai exporters, which opened the door for India to become dominant.
The other variety of prawn which is widely trawled or produced in India is the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Since 1996, Broodstock Multiplication Centre for L. Vannamei in Andhra Pradesh has sold broodstock to hatcheries across the country. Now MPEDA is looking to expand the regions where hatcheries for L. Vannamei could be set up.
“We are examining the scope of production of Pacific white in naturally saline areas within the country such as those found in Haryana and Punjab,” Jayathilak said.
According to SEAI, the Pacific white variety had been successfully cultured in Rohtak, Haryana, showing that a huge untapped potential for the species could emerge