China imports fish oil to the tune of $143.29 million and fish meal to the tune of $263.43 million annually primarily from Peru and Chile. Despite India being the second largest fish producer (11.41 million tonnes) in the world only after China (58.8 million tonnes), China has opened its market for Indian fish oil and meal only last week.
The six-member Chinese delegation in its visit to India last week, discussed various issues of market access and signed agreement to open its fish oil and meal markets for Indian exporters.
“China is a big market for fish oil and meal which we were seeking access since long. We see a great opportunity in fish oil and meal exports to China which India may capture 10 per cent of market share by 2019. We are aggressively looking to export to China for which we will soon register ourselves with government agencies,” said Kiran Chaudasama, Proprietor, Aksha Fish Meal, a Gujarat based fish oil and meal producer.
The Vice Minister, General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), Hu Wei, led the delegation to India to discuss various issues of market access for different products like milk and milk products, agricultural products like soy meal, fruits and vegetables, tobacco and pharmaceutical products for which India has been seeking market access from China.
Shawkath Showry, Managing Director, Blueline Foods (India) and President of Indian Fishmeal & Fish Oil Exporters Association, said, “Our fish meal and oil current go to a number of countries including Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Japan and Chile. In China, however, we would have to compete with Peruvian and Chile producers; and ensure that Indian prices for these products will be much cheaper compared to Peru and Chile along with the quality and lead time.”
India current produces nearly 50,000 tonnes of fish meal and fish oil which is sold to domestic consumers and overseas importers.
“India must stipulate quota system of catches for each trawling boat and prevent indiscriminate dumping of toxic materials, industrial effluents and sewage through greater penal action against offenders,” said Showry.