India’s seafood exports miss $7-billion target for 2019-20
India’s seafood exports missed their $7-billion target for 2019-20, though not by a wide margin. Now, given that coronavirus-related lockdowns have been eased globally and there is an increased sale of value-added products at retail chains, it is expected that exports will see an uptick.
Through 2019-20, India shipped 1,289,651 tonnes of seafood, worth $ 6.68 billion, compared with 1,392,559 tonnes of seafood (worth $6.73 billion) the previous year. In rupee terms, seafood exports during the year were 0.16 per cent higher than in 2018-19, but in terms of quantity and dollar value, they declined by 7.39 per cent and 0.74 per cent, respectively.
Frozen shrimp remained a major export item in terms of quantity and value last year, followed by frozen fish. The US and China were the biggest importers of Indian seafood.
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) is aiming to increase the country’s seafood exports to Rs 1 trillion by 2030. MPEDA Chairman K S Srinivas says: “We narrowly missed the $7-billion target. But exports should look up now as lockdowns have been eased everywhere.”
Srinivas noted that India had managed to export 1,289,651 tonnes of seafood despite sluggish demand in major export markets in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic leading to the cancellation of orders, in addition to reduced and delayed payments, slow cargo movements, and difficulty in getting new orders. A decline in sea catch along the west coast amid reduced fishing days was also a reason for the shortfall in quantity.
At $4,889.12 million worth of exports, frozen shrimp retained its position as the most significant item in India’s basket of seafood exports. It accounted for 50.58 per cent of total quantity and 73.21 per cent of total dollar earnings. Frozen fish, the second-largest export item, fetched $513.60 million. It accounted for 17.32 per cent of the total quantity, and 7.69 per cent of dollar earnings. However, the export of frozen fish declined by 34.11 per cent in volume and 26.53 per cent in value (dollar terms).
The export of frozen cuttlefish, pegged at 70,906 tonnes, showed positive growth of 17.76 per cent in quantity, 1.71 per cent in rupee value, and 1.45 per cent in dollar terms. It earned India $286.40 million. Export of chilled items considered a promising segment, also increased by 23.22 per cent in terms of quantity, 2.53 per cent in rupee value, and 1.29 per cent in dollar value.
The US, which remained the biggest importer in value terms, imported $2,562.54 million worth of Indian seafood and had a share of 38.37 per cent in value (dollar terms). Exports to the US grew 8.25 per cent in quantity, 10.38 per cent in rupee value and 9.30 per cent in dollar earnings.
China emerged as India’s largest seafood export destination in terms of quantity. It imported 329,479 tonnes, worth $1,374.63 million, and accounted for 25.55 per cent of the total in volume terms. By value, its share was 20.58 per cent (dollar terms). Exports to that country grew by 46.10 per cent in quantity and 69.47 per cent in value.
Other major export markets for India were the European Union, Southeast Asia, Japan, and West Asia.