Even as seafood growth is expected to slow down to 17% during 2019-20 from 20% recorded during the past two years, Vannamei exports from Andhra Pradesh will make the State a leading hub for aquaculture exports.
The overall growth of seafood exports will come down mainly due to stringent guidelines imposed by the United States under its Seafood Import Monitoring Programme by withdrawing preferential trade treatment and levying anti-dumping duties forcing exporters from the country to explore new markets.
“Vannamei (white-leg shrimp), an exotic species known for its taste and low cost, is most sought after in the export market and we are doing extremely well in culturing it,” Association of Indian Fishery Industries president Y.G.K. Murti told The Hindu on Monday.
Andhra Pradesh, specifically, the Krishna, West Godavari and East Godavari districts, account for 25% of the country’s aquaculture. It leads in shrimp farming, with production of over 300,000 tonne of Pacific whitetail or Vannamei in 2018. The State leads in seafood exports, with shrimp accounting for close to 95% of exports.
“The AP government has been focussing on making shrimp culture a long-term sustainable industry. So, in many ways, it has avoided the mistakes that other States, notably Tamil Nadu, made, by allowing rampant unregulated shrimp farming to take place. AP has taken steps to regulate new shrimp farms, as well as to shut illegal hatcheries,” said Pushkar Mukewar, co-founder and co-CEO of Drip Capital, which offers a data and technology-driven working capital solution to SME exporters.
Steps to improve quality
He said State authorities were working closely with the Central authorities to ensure that brood-stock was not contaminated. The State was planning to use technology, including blockchain, to help improve quality and productivity to give a further fillip to shrimp culture.
Mr. Mukewar said Vizag had been topping the list in terms of seafood exporting ports. However, the government’s plan to modernise and upgrade Vizag Fishing Harbour could impact this position and make the city a world leader in seafood exports.
He said the Indian shrimp had been in trouble with American and European authorities for unsanitary processes, as well as high levels of antibiotics used. State governments were now using technology to help maintain quality standards in shrimp cultivation.
Companies in this business were also taking steps to improve the supply chain, and reducing the overuse of antibiotics and other chemicals. Some States were providing land to shrimp hatcheries to encourage more companies to enter shrimp cultivation, he stated