Amid growing uncertainties in the seafood trade, exporters now have a reason to cheer as India has emerged as the highest shrimp exporter in 2016. India exported about 438,500 tonnes in 2016, up 14.5 per cent in 2015, according to a report by Globefish, a unit within the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
The exports of value-added shrimp from India surged by 130 per cent in 2016 to 23,400 tonnes from 10,100 tonnes in 2015 and were mostly directed to the US market.
According to the report, the top five shrimp exporters to the international market in 2016 were India, Vietnam (425,000 tonnes, up by 18–20 per cent from 2015), Ecuador (372,600 tonnes, up 7.8 per cent), Indonesia (220,000 tonnes, up 21 per cent) and Thailand (209,400, up 22 per cent).
India’s top export markets included the US, Vietnam, the EU and Japan. India exported 1,134,948 tonnes of seafood, worth an all-time high of $5.78 billion (Rs 37, 870.90 crore), in 2016-17 against 9,45,892 tonnes, worth $4.69 billion, a year earlier.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected 133 shrimp consignments due to the existence of prohibited antibiotics, which included 95 from India.
The report has come at a time when Indian exporters are fearing a ban from the EU, their third-largest market.
Stating that imports to the EU declined last year, the report stated, “Beginning in late 2016, the EU Veterinary Authority has increased the mandatory quality checks of Indian farmed shrimp from 10 to 50 per cent, a move that contributed to additional costs for importers and led to diversification of shipments to other markets.”
In China, strong demand was reported as a result of falling domestic production with foreign supplies increasing both directly and indirectly to this market. International prices remained stable throughout 2016.
“Mixed production trends for farmed shrimp were observed in Asian producing countries during 2016, with a total estimated production of around 2.5 million tonnes. While disease remained a major concern, adverse weather conditions also had an impact on production, particularly during the first half of the year. Fortunately, supplies recovered in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand during the second half of 2016,” the Globefish report said.
In terms of prices, vannamei shrimp prices increased marginally during 2016. In the single-largest import market, the US, there was a 5.5 per cent rise in import prices compared with 2015. US prices for Indian shrimp and Ecuadorean shrimp increased by 2.7 per cent and 7.8 per cent, respectively, the report said.