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By V Sajeev Kumar
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Burgeoning demand for seafood value-added products has facilitated the Marine Products Exports Development Authority of India (Mpeda) to look at doubling the share of such products in the next seven years.
Currently, the value addition in the Indian seafood sector is around 10 per cent of the total export of $8 billion. “We are aiming to achieve 20 per cent value addition by 2030 given the changing preferences in the consumer market and rising competition from countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and China”, D V Swamy, Chairman, Mpeda said.
Value-added products are in great demand in international markets particularly in the US, EU, Japan and West Asia, he said.
Speaking to businessline on the side-lines of a tasting session of the value-added products after a 3-day hands-on training programme, Swamy said India’s share of $8 billion represents 4.3 per cent of the global seafood market worth $189 billion. But out of $34 billion value-added seafood products market, the country’s share is $0.86 billion or 2.5 per cent.
Realising the need to raise value addition level, he said Mpeda has undertaken initiatives for the development of infrastructure, capacity building for value addition and training of workers.
The training programme led by experts Tran Quoc Son and Chu Thi Tuyet Mai from Vietnam began on World Fisheries Day on November 21 and witnessed participation from 22 seafood export units.
The hands-on training programme on seafood value addition to enhance the skills of seafood processing workers and encourage the production of value-added products will be held at seven locations across the east and west coasts of India from November 21 to December 17.
The objective of the programme is to train 25 participants from various processing units on product preparation techniques, resulting in the production of 22 value-added products at each location.
Mpeda chairman said the seafood export volume increased six per cent in 2023 outperforming the export volume in the previous year. The volumes increased 17 and 19 per cent respectively in August and September respectively. The large export volumes have come at the cost of low prices, which have stabilised at the end of Q3. The seafood sector is hopeful of achieving last year’s level in export or even slightly crossing it in the current year, he said.
Seafood exporters who attended the programme pointed out that several ingredients used in the preparation of value-added seafood are currently imported with payment of duty. To enhance the share of value added seafood exports, the exporters asked Mpeda to recommend to the centre to remove duty for materials such as bread crumbs, sauces, pre-dust, desiccated coconut and plastic trays. Another suggestion is to raise the duty exemption for import from the current 1 to 3 per cent of the FOB value of value-added products export.
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