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Odisha Shrimp Prices Skyrocket on Short Supply

Crustaceans Economics +2 more

INDIA - Short supply of shrimps due to floods in the state of Odisha induced by the very severe cyclonic storm Phailin has hit the sea food exporters. Shrimp prices have shot up by about 200 per cent compared to last year.

Business Standard reports that Odisha produces Black tiger shrimp, a major export value item that has a significant demand in countries like Japan, UK and US.

“The price of shrimps which was ruling at Rs 200 per kg during this time last year is now hovering at around Rs 630 per kg. Prices have escalated on shortfall in production due to floods triggered by Phailin,” said Gorachand Mohanty, president, Seafood Exporters Association of India-Odisha region.

The shrimp farmers have estimated the total loss at Rs 350 crore due to devastation wreaked by Phailin in Gopalpur, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts and flooding in Balasore district. More than 2000 hectares (ha) of shrimp culture ponds are lost with a production capacity of almost 3,000 tonne of shrimps (valued at more than Rs 300 crore).

The regional association has urged the state government for compensation and rehabilitation to more than 2000 farmers affected in the districts of Balasore, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Ganjam.

The undivided Balasore district along the coast of north Odisha, consisting of Bhadrak and Balasore, accounts for about 80 per cent of the total shrimp farming.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed over the impact on the exports which are likely to drop in quantitative terms this fiscal,” he said.

Though the farmers had started stocking of seeds, they have been devastated by the floods that followed the severe cyclonic storm, he added.

Under realization of prices due to presence of ethoxyquin (an antioxidant) in shrimps and stricter guidelines for obtaining Pre-Harvest Test Certificate (PHTC) from Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) had compelled the farmers to take a cautious stand and go for low stocking.

It may be noted that Japan had imposed compulsory testing for Ethoxyquin in the shrimp consignments received from India on the basis of default standard of 0.01 parts per million (ppm).

The processing units in the state are also operating at lower capacities because of the non availability of raw materials. Falling export prices have added to the woes.

“The exporters are caught between the devil and the deep sea. If they purchase, they will lose and if they abstain from buying, they have to bear the overhead expenses of the factories,” Mr Mohanty said.

Due to the cyclonic storm that hit the state's southern coast on October 12, the fishermen are also not venturing into the sea leading to drop in sea catch, he added.