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Indian Shrimp exports under threat

by Ellen Hardy
13 December 2007, at 12:00am

INDIA - India's shrimp exports are facing a serious threat from low-cost Litopenaeus Vannamei shrimp produced in countries such as Thailand, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Most of the shrimp importing nations, especially the US, prefer Vannamei shrimp to Indian Black Tiger variety in the 21-25 segment (1 kg consists of 21-25 shrimps) because of the former’s lower price tag.

The arrival of this shrimp in the global market has seriously hit Indian exports, which is already reeling under pressure due to the rupee appreciation.

According to Seafood Exporters’ Association of India (SEAI), the average per kg price realisation of Indian shrimp has gone down in all varieties during the last two-three years. The average price of Indian shrimp in the 21-25 segment has gone down to Rs 399 from Rs 495 in 2005-06.

A J Tharakan, president, SEAI said thanks to the low cost of production in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and China, these countries could offer the product at much lower prices, threatening Indian exports. The average cost of production of Vannamei is Rs 90 a kg while that of Black Tiger is over Rs 160.

The issue has become serious as shrimp was India’s major item in the export basket, he said. The commodity has always fetched a higher unit value compared with other products such as frozen fish, cuttlefish and squid.

Frozen shrimp contributes more that 53 per cent of the country’s export earnings from marine products. Of the total export receipts of Rs 8,363.53 crore in 2006-07, Rs 4,506.08 crore was from shrimps alone.

Source: BusinessStandard

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Ellen Hardy