Shrimp panel: India growth, China recovery to drive 2018 global production increase

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Shrimp panel: India growth, China recovery to drive 2018 global production increase

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MIAMI, Florida, US — Strong growth from India, a recovery in China and increased production from other Asian and Latin American countries will drive global shrimp production past 3.5m metric tons in 2018, according to the shrimp panel at the Global Seafood Market Conference (GSMC).

As well as increased production from India and Ecuador, Vietnamese production is also forecasted to rocket in 2018, according to the panel. China is set to recover and Thailand and Indonesia are expected to increase.

The panel is more bearish than the production level presented during the 2017 Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) in Dublin, Ireland, however. During GOAL, a level of close to 4.5m metric tons was presented for 2017.

The more bearish GSMC panel still presented some bullish growth numbers for India, however. Indian government data shows production of 497,622t for the 2015/2016-year, with the GSMC shrimp panel estimating 566,000t in 2016/2017, 697,000t in 2017/2018 and 757,000t.

Also, growth in India is coming from new areas and not so much from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the main hubs, one panelist said.

There were some concerns expressed from attendees over the sustainability of India’s production expansion.

One panelist, Robins McIntosh, senior vice president of Thai agribusiness and food processing giant Charoen Pokphand Foods, said expansion in India can’t continue forever.

But, in the event of a decline, “we will not see an overnight collapse”, he said.

“India is a very big country; it has three bodies of water and lot of new areas coming online,” said the panelist.

“What is baseline level? 600,000t seems to have been an easy goal to achieve. Will they go to a million [metric] tons? I think it will level out and it might also contract,” he said.

The panel is estimating Ecuador will export 531,000t in 2018, up from 469,000t in 2017.

Ecuador had what Sandro Coglitore, who runs Omarsa, a major shrimp farmer and processor, called a “hiccup” on the hatchery side in 2017, limiting the supply of larvae.

However, Ecuador continues to expand. The main cause of this growth forecast is “better feeding techniques and some increase in the density”, he said.

As well as farming, Vietnam is a major importer of shrimp for re-processing and also for transit into the Chinese market via the grey trade route via Haiphong, a port close to the border between the two countries.

There was a crackdown on this trade at the end of 2017 and it remains to be seen what the impact of this will be in the market.

“China is buying directly from Vietnam farms and selling fresh into the Chinese market,” said the panel. The “result is higher prices in Vietnam compared to the rest of Asia as plants compete with China for raw material”.

This demand for shrimp for processing — as well as for sales to China via the grey route at the northern border — is also driving a big increase in imports for Vietnam.

The panel presented data that shows the surge in shrimp in Vietnam imports. Vietnam’s imports are 273,620t for January-September in 2017, compared to 274,723t for all of 2016. For 2015, imports were 177,766t.

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