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MPEDA to launch logo scheme for value-added seafood products

Our Bureau

The scheme is part of the measures the authority plans to take to revive exports that have declined 6.6% last fiscal.

Kochi , Aug. 3

A combination of factors including threat of anti-dumping duties from the US, slowdown of the Japanese market and quality control problems from the European Union, has led to a 6.61 per cent fall in marine exports during 2003-04 to $1,330 million ($1,424 million).

Addressing a press conference, Mr G. Mohan Kumar, Chairman of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), said: "During the current year, under the market promotion measures, MPEDA plans to introduce a logo scheme by which Indian products will get a wide acceptability and develop a brand image in the overseas markets. The logo will be fixed on value-added products, processed and exported at those units which comply with certain stringent standards specified by MPEDA."

Despite a slew of measures announced to revive marine exports, Mr Abraham Tharakan, Chairman of the Seafood Exporters Association of India, said: "The massive growth in marine exports during the past few years is expected to taper off. Instead, a period of slow revival and consolidation of the markets is expected."

The logo scheme received the Government's approval.The MPEDA is busy registering the logo in the US, European Union and Japan. But even today, value-added marine products constitute less than 20 per cent of the country's total exports. This is against 90 per cent in case of Thailand, Mr Tharakan said.

The country needs to exploit the huge amount of Foreign Direct Investment in the food processing sectors of developing countries.

Earlier, the bulk of these investments went to Thailand. Recently, FDI focus had been more on China and Vietnam, while India continues to be neglected, Mr Tharakan said.

Last year, marine exports from the country fell by 11.83 per cent to 4,12,017 tonnes (4,67,297 tonnes). Even in rupee realisation, there was a decline of 11.47 per cent to Rs 6,091 crore (Rs 6,881 crore). There was a fall in value (both in dollar and rupee terms) despite a growth in unit value realisation from $3.05 in 2002-03 to $3.23 in 2003-04.

Frozen shrimp exports shrunk by 8 per cent to $876 million ($953 million). The US was the biggest export destination accounting for 27.49 per cent of the total exports in dollar terms. This was followed by the European Union with 24.04 per cent and Japan with 19.08 per cent.

MPEDA said it would associate with the Seafood Exporters' Association of India and participate in 15 international fairs. This year, for the first time, MPEDA will participate in fairs in Vietnam and Russia to explore market possibilities.

Efforts will be on to showcase the achievements of Indian marine exports, develop infrastructure and explore the possibility of more investments in seafood processing, Mr Mohan Kumar said.

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