Andhra Pradesh

Aquaculturists in jitters over coronavirus impact on shrimp exports

There has been a fall in the market price of the produce in the last couple of weeks

D. Gopinath, an aquaculturist at Tangutur in Prakasam district, had raised Vannamei shrimp, hoping to get some decent returns as the market price for the export-oriented produce ruled steady in the market till recently.

But he is unsure whether the price of ₹500 per kg for a count of 30 and ₹380 per kg for a count of 40 will continue in the month of May when the harvest peaks.

The reason is that there has been a fall of up to ₹50 per kg in the last couple of weeks following the outbreak of coronavirus in China, before recovering slightly after resumption in the movement of containers to the eastern neighbour.

“I am very much worried about how the market condition will be when the harvest of shrimp picks up in a couple of month,” he said while taking stock of the situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak, which, after originating in China, had spread to other parts of the world, infecting a large number of people.

It is estimated that economic growth will stagnate in the key shrimp consuming countries, which included China, the U.S., Japan and European countries, affecting consumption of seafood as well.

“In view of the uncertainty, we have decided to scale down the operations by 20 to 30% of the normal acreage this year,” a group of aquaculturists in the Kothapatnam area said.

“We are hoping against hope that the health situation in the shrimp consuming countries improves soon,” they said.

Cause for worry

Enterocytozoon Hepatopenaei (EHP) and White Feces Disease (WFD) were adding to their woes, said another aquaculturist K. Mallikarjun Rao, who adopted new culture technologies, including use of probiotics, to ward off diseases in his farm.

According to an estimate, the State, on an average, produces 5 lakh tonnes of shrimp. While 60% of it is exported to the U.S., China accounts for 20% and other countries the remaining.

“Aquaculturists need not be too much worried on the future demand as seafood is not in the list of banned items in China,” said Avanti Feeds Limited general manager (Technical & Marketing) S. Mohanty.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Aquaculturists’ Association State general secretary A. Kondal Rayudu underscored the need for creating demand for shrimp within the country. Cold chain infrastructure should be created to improve the shelflife of the produce, he said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 5:08:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/aquaculturists-in-jitters-over-coronavirus-impact-on-shrimp-exports/article31004872.ece

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