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India targets marine products exports worth $5.6 bn in 2016-17

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New Delhi: Marine product exports from India are projected to increase nearly 20% to $ 5.6 billion in 2016-17, particularly with strides in aquaculture diversification, quality control, value addition and improved production infrastructure — all of which will be demonstrated at the upcoming biennial India International Seafood Show (IISS) in Vishakhapatnam.

The Marine Products Export Authority (MPEDA), the broad fisheries sector coordinating agency under the Ministry of Commerce, expects the industry will reverse the decline from last fiscal when total seafood exports stood at 945,892 MT worth US$ 4.7 billion.

IISS 2016, the 20th edition of one of the oldest and largest seafood events in Asia which will be on from September 23-25, is focusing on “Safe and Sustainable Indian Aquaculture” to highlight the technological advances and sustainable practices followed in capture & culture fisheries in India, to ensure quality of seafood produced for both domestic and export market.

The US and south-east Asia are the major importers of Indian seafood and frozen shrimp continued to be the major export item last year, followed by frozen fish.

Small and marginal farmers in India, who contribute to the bulk of coastal aquaculture are organising to stave off competition from countries such as Thailand and Vietnam by boosting production and adopting global standard marketing strategies such as certification, traceability and eco-labelling.

“Aquaculture is a very significant area for marine exports as far as India is concerned and our efforts are geared towards greater technology inputs and product diversification in this area,” said Dr A Jayathilak, MPEDA Chairman, “Our higher target for exports this year is in part due to increased production of globally in-demand seafood produce such as Whiteleg Shrimp and Black Tiger Shrimp, and diversification of aquaculture species particularly of Mangrove Crab and Tilapia.”

The MPEDA is actively supporting shrimp culture through cluster farming approach. More than 10,000 farmers have been organized into aqua societies that implement better practices. The aqua societies also help farmers access credit, quality seeds, feeds and other inputs, reducing the burden of diseases and improving product quality.

While Aquaculture will be in the spotlight at the IISS 2016, the show will also focus on new technologies, production infrastructure and value-added products. The MPEDA says increasing export of value added exports to about half of the total quantity is a key component of the marine products export plan of India.

IISS 2016, organised by the MPEDA in partnership with the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) at the Trust Diamond Jubilee Stadium in Vishakhapatnam, will also be a major platform for business interactions. It is expected to pave the way for foreign direct investment in India and contribute significantly to the ‘Make in India’ programme.

The event will see participation from many countries including the US, the UK, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Vietnam, The Netherlands, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Germany and China.

International and domestic exhibitors will showcase their products and services to a potential global market and explore leads and partnerships. Of the 290 stalls booked at the exhibition, more than 70 are from foreign companies.

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