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India Must Reconsider Marine Imports

INDIA - India may have to seriously think of importing fish for re-exporting in view of the fall in domestic production. Seafood exports fell from 612641 tonnes in 2006-07 to 541701 tonnes valued at Rs 7620 crore in 2007-08 even as Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) is undertaking many schemes for expanding production

G Mohan Kumar, IAS, Chairman, MPEDA in an exclusive interview to Commodity Online said that domestic consumption is rising in the country due to better disposable incomes and growth in GDP, therefore, in the long run a dynamic equilibrium could be established between imports and exports. With the present trends, it is also likely that by 2025 there wouldn’t be much of marine products to export. In such a scenario, it makes sense to import fish products for processing and re-export, he said.

It may be recalled that India despite being a major spices producer is importing pepper and other spices for value-added re-exports in view of the fall in domestic production, reports Commodity Online.

In 2007-08, European Union accounted for a major share of Indian marine exports at 149381 MT (27.58 %). Japan continued to be the second largest market accounting for 67373 MT (12.44%) and $305.49 mn (16.09%) while USA constituted the third largest market at 36612 MT (6.76%) in quantity and 253.05 (13.33%) in dollar value terms.

MPEDA Chairman said that with a 11th Plan outlay of Rs 450 crore, R & D and marketing would get more thrust. MPEDA is engaging Lintas for brand promotion of India’s marine products abroad. “For the first time, we are are going to target the consumer rather than export in bulk,” Mohan Kumar said.