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Kochi: Faced with a supply crunch, Indian seafood exporters are unable to cash in on the rising shrimp prices in the global market. India is the top farmed shrimp supplier in the world at present.

he output has declined as farmers had cut production when the prices crashed earlier during the fiscal year.

After achieving a record output of 6 lakh tonnes in FY18, the industry was expecting the production to edge closer to 7 lakh tonnes this year when the prices slumped 20% as the US demand turned sluggish. The US is the largest buyer of Indian seafood with 33% share.

“The prices are better now but we are not getting sufficient supply from the farms to meet the improved demand,’’ said Tara Ranjan Patnaik, MD of Falcon Marine Exports. His monthly shipment has come down to around 1000 tonnes from a level of 4000 tonnes.

Shortage has pushed up the shrimp prices in the farms. “The shrimp prices are up by Rs 60 to 70 per kg,’’ Patnaik said. This has put pressure on the margins of exporters. Frozen shrimp accounts for about 70% of the total seafood export from the country which was worth over Rs 45000 crore last year.

“Discouraged by the low prices, the stocking density in the farm had come down by half in the farms from April. But with prices improving, production will get better and by December we will be back to normal production,’’ said L Satyanarain, president of All India Shrimp Hatcheries Association.

India has become the top supplier of shrimps to the US. Large scale supply of shrimp from India, Indonesia and other countries to the US led to a plunge in prices. Several Indian exporters are sending shipments to the US after the European Union started tightening the quality norms

The rupee depreciation is expected to benefit the seafood exports in the coming months. The current shipments have been contracted several months in advance and hence exporters may not gain much as the rupee  ..
 
Source: ET

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