Marine exports continue to be a dominant sector of exports for the state of Andhra Pradesh. The sector has grown leaps and bounds over the past decade and contributes overwhelmingly to the overall marine exports from the country. Among the various marine products exported frozen shrimps continued to be the dominant export product.
India exported US$ 5.96 Billion worth of seafoods during financial year FY’21. Out of this a substantial US$ 2.154 billion came from the state of Andhra Pradesh thereby contributing a significant 36.17% to the overall exports value (in USD).
In terms of tonnage the country exported 11,49,341 MT of marine products in the last fiscal out of this over half i.e. 51% of exports were of frozen shrimps.
The state of Andhra Pradesh continued to dominate the frozen Shrimps category. Out of the total 590, 275 tons of frozen shrimps exported in FY’21, an astounding 272,158 tons of frozen shrimps were from the state of Andhra Pradesh alone.
While the total marine exports from AP stood at 279,992 tons a whopping 97% of that was of frozen shrimps.
‘Andhra Pradesh accounts for about 70% of the aquaculture shrimp produced in India and its fortunes are closely linked to the overall export prospects for the country’ Ms Pavethra Ponniah, Vice President & Co Group head, ICRA told Vizag Industrial Scan.
All in all in value terms the state exported USD 2154.55 million of marine exports in the last fiscal while in rupee terms it was Rs. 15,831.74 crores.
Although there has been a decline in the overall seafood exports in FY’21 compared to FY’20 industry, insiders say the effect of the pandemic has been minimal on this sector compared to other sectors.
‘I think the state has done extremely well keeping the current situation in mind and we expect to continue to lead in this sector going forward’ said Mr CH Kishore, MD Sandybay sea foods.
Concurred Mr Nagesh, CFO, Nekkanti seafoods and stated ‘The frozen shrimp category continues to have strong demand across the world’.
AP’s Export Markets
In terms of geographies USA and China continued to be the largest importers with USA accounting for 176,488 tons worth USD 1524.07 million followed by China with 50,565 tons worth USD 274.54 million. The European union and middle east were the other large markets (See pie chart).
Vizag Port/VCTPL Highest market Share
Marine products were exported through 30 different sea/air/land ports. Vizag, Calcutta, Kochi, Krishnapatnam, and JNP are the major ports which have handled marine cargo. Vizag handled 28% of exports from India in US$ terms
Issues faced by Sector
Despite being a decent year for the seafood exporters, there are certain issues that the industry has been facing and pose a challenge to the sector.
The pandemic for one is major concern as partial lockdowns still continue in many states. ‘It is an uncertain situation right now and one can’t really predict how this fiscal will pan out. It all depends on how the pandemic is controlled’ said Sea Food Exporters Association of India (SEAI), President and CMD Avanti Feeds, Mr Indra Kumar speaking to Vizag Industrial Scan.
Similarly issues such as availability of reefer containers, fluctuation of the dollar-rupee, labour problems due to COVID restrictions and pending release of incentives remain a point of concern.
‘Even though the government had declared the incentives under the MEIS scheme it has still not been released for last year. All exporters are eagerly waiting for the release of their incentives’ informed Mr Nagesh.
Exports to Remain Strong
Ms Ponniah however opines that the export prospects for the current fiscal remain strong with the reopening in developed countries. ‘While the 2nd wave has disrupted farming, the impact so far has been low’ said Ms Ponniah.
She further added that given the global demand for shrimp, India can capitalise on attracting investments. Ms Ponniah though did stress on meeting global standards on hygiene and disease safety and usage of quality broodstock and traceability as other critical global requirements.
India’s total Exports
The country on a whole registered seafood exports to the tune of USD 5.96 billion in FY’21 having exported 11,49,341 MT of Seafoods.
USA and China were the major importers of Indian seafood while Frozen Shrimp continued to be the major export item followed by frozen fish.
Certain issues faced by Sector:
- Non-Availability of Reefer containers
- Fluctuation in the Dollar-Rupee
- Labour problems due to COVID restrictions
- Release of incentives under MEIS
The COVID pandemic and sluggish overseas markets did cast their shadow over India’s resurgent seafood sector.
In 2019-20, India exported 12,89,651 MT of seafood worth Rs 46,662.85 crore (US$ 6.68 billion), marking a decline of 6.31 per cent in rupee terms and 10.81 per cent in dollar value in 2020-21