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US buyers hunger for value-added shrimps

Deeptha Rajkumar

KOCHI, Dec. 2

SEAFOOD exports to the US continue to be on the rise while exports to Japan, India's one-time biggest export destination, is on the decline.

As per export compilation data provided by the Marine Products Export Development (MPEDA), the share of the US in India's exports has grown to 34.33 per cent in the period April-August 2002. In value terms, exports to the US stood at around Rs 788.97 crore as against Rs 586.95 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Sources maintain that increased value-addition is the reason behind the sustained growth. The US represents a huge market specially for value-added seafood. And this segment has been growing rapidly so much so that at present value addition contributes to 15 per cent of India's total seafood exported.

Value addition is the most talked about word in the fish processing industry because of the possibility of better realisation of forex earnings and high unit value.

Fish is the largest item imported to the US by quantity and shrimp the largest item by value. In fact, US is one of the leading shrimp importers in the world with India being one of its largest suppliers.

The share of Japan in India's exports fell to 30.43 per cent in the period April-August 2002. Traditionally, Japan was India's biggest export destination, importing only block frozen items.

In value terms, exports to Japan stood at around Rs 699.43 crore as against Rs 997.62 crore in the corresponding period last year.

India's total seafood exports during the said period registered a 9.25 per cent decline in dollar terms and a 5.60 per cent decline in rupee terms. Total seafood exports for the period April-August 2002 stood at Rs 2298.54 crore as against Rs 2434.92 crore in the corresponding period last year.

As per data compiled by MPEDA, the unit value per kg in dollar terms, of frozen shrimp, declined by 3.57 per cent while the drop in quantity was around 7.77 per cent.

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