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Govt May Approve New Shrimp in Bid to Hike Production

INDIA - The government is likely to approve the cultivation of the exotic vannamei (white) shrimp in a move that could increase its production in India.

Cost-effective: India’s shrimp production has stagnated at around 150,000 tonnes annually. The introduction of the ‘vannamei’ (white) variety, will help the country reduce costs and increase production.

A decision on this could be made as early as this week, according to a representative of the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).

The country’s shrimp production has stagnated at around 150,000 tonnes a year and India’s aquaculture industry has been demanding the introduction of the vannamei variety, which will help it reduce costs and increase production. According to A.J. Tharakan, a member of the board and former national president of SEAI, the commerce ministry discussed the issue with some exporters last week and has decided to seek the views of the agriculture ministry.

“The agriculture ministry appears to be in favour of introducing the new variety. It will draw the guidelines at this week’s meeting (of the National Development Fisheries Board, or NDFB),” said Tharakan. NDFB is responsible for the management of India’s fishery resources. It is scheduled to meet in Kochi later this week and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar is expected to attend the meeting.

India produces and exports the black tiger variety of shrimps, which involves high costs and low productivity. In contrast, vannamei shrimps cost Rs90 per kg to produce— half the cost of the black tiger variety. While farmers can produce 20 tonnes of medium and small vannamei shrimp per ha, they can produce 2-3 tonnes of black tiger shrimp.