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Seafood Exporters’ Association of India President Jagdish Fofandi is calling for the improvement of aquaculture infrastructure nationwide and the expansion of shrimp aquaculture into Kerala state.
Fofandi, who was recently named the vice president of India’s Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), told The Hindu his country needs to improve its support for its aquaculture sector and make more land available for shrimp farming.
India’s seafood exports in its last fiscal year reached another all-time high USD 8.47 billion (EUR 7.87 billion), up 9 percent year-over-year, up from a then-record USD 7.74 billion (then EUR 7.1 billion) in 2021-2022, “backed by steady demand from existing markets and the addition of newer markets,” according to the Financial Express. India has set a goal of reaching USD 14 billion (EUR 13 billion) in seafood exports by 2025, the newspaper reported.
Despite the success, Fofandi said India is lagging behind Ecuador, its rival in the shrimp business, in investment in developing and disseminating quality seed and aquafeed, as well as in keeping electricity affordable.
Additionally, Fofandi said India needed to commit to expanding its shrimp farming in Kerala state, in India’s south. Currently, Andra Pradesh state accounts for the vast majority of India’s shrimp production, with Gujarat and Odissa states trailing, and Kerala barely registering any production. Fofandi said more effort also needed to be put into scaling production back up in South Gujarat after it fell from 90,000 metric tons (MT) two years ago to 30,000 MT last year.
In terms of wild-caught shrimp, India has fallen behind Vietnam and Thailand – primarily due to a ban on exports to the United States due to an issue the U.S. declaration its fleet is not consistently using turtle-excluder devices.
Fofandi pushed for government assistance on that issue, and in restoring trade with Japan. Japan is no longer a major destination for seafood from India, he said, and even its typically steady demand for surimi has fallen in recent years.
Photo courtesy of Jagdish Fofandi/LinkedIn
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