7 Reasons Why India is the Top Shrimp Exporter in the World
India is the world’s largest producer and exporter of shrimp, with a market share of over 30% in terms of volume and value. In 2019, India exported 652,253 MT of shrimp worth US$ 4.89 billion to more than 100 countries. What are the factors behind this remarkable success story? Here are seven reasons why India is the top shrimp exporter in the world.
1. Adoption of SPF L. vannamei
India introduced Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) in 2008, which boosted the productivity and profitability of shrimp farms. SPF L. vannamei has higher stocking densities, lower disease incidence and faster growth rates than the native black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon). India still imports L. vannamei broodstock from approved sources, but is developing its own broodstock multiplication centers and domestic breeding programs.
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2. Diversification of markets
India has diversified its export markets to reduce its dependence on any single destination. The major markets for Indian shrimp are the USA (46.7%), China (23.8%), the European Union (12.1%) and Japan (6.4%). India also exports to emerging markets such as Vietnam, the Middle East, South East Asia and Australia.
3. Quality assurance and traceability
India has implemented stringent quality standards and traceability systems to ensure the safety and quality of its shrimp products. The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and the Export Inspection Council (EIC) are the regulatory bodies that oversee the certification and inspection of shrimp exports. India also follows the guidelines and requirements of the importing countries, such as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system, the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification.
4. Innovation and technology
India has invested in innovation and technology to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its shrimp production. Some of the innovations include biofloc technology, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, remote sensing and satellite imagery. These technologies help farmers optimize their inputs, monitor their ponds, prevent diseases, reduce environmental impacts and increase transparency.
5. Government support and policies
The Indian government has provided support and incentives to the shrimp sector through various schemes and policies. Some of these include the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), which aims to enhance fish production, create employment opportunities and improve infrastructure; the Seafood Park Scheme, which provides subsidies for setting up processing units in designated zones; the Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme, which reimburses taxes and duties paid on exported products; and the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), which provide technical guidance and training to farmers.
6. Entrepreneurship and farmer empowerment
The Indian shrimp sector is driven by a strong spirit of entrepreneurship and farmer empowerment. The sector consists of thousands of small and medium farmers who own or lease their own ponds and operate independently or in clusters. These farmers are supported by a network of hatcheries, feed mills, processors, exporters, traders, service providers and associations. The farmers are also empowered by access to information, credit, insurance and market linkages.
7. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship
The Indian shrimp sector is committed to social responsibility and environmental stewardship. The sector contributes to rural development, poverty alleviation, food security and gender equality by providing livelihoods and income to millions of people. The sector also adopts best management practices, such as water conservation, waste management, biosecurity, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation, to minimize its environmental footprint.
Indian Shrimp Export: A Booming Industry
India is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of shrimp, a highly valued seafood item in the global market. According to the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), India achieved an all-time high exports of seafood both in terms of volume and value by shipping 17,35,286 MT of seafood worth US$ 8.09 billion during FY 2022-23. Frozen shrimp accounted for 40.98% in quantity and 67.72% of the total US$ earnings, making it the most significant item in the basket of seafood exports.
Factors Driving the Growth of Indian Shrimp Export
Several factors have contributed to the remarkable growth of Indian shrimp export in recent years. Some of these are:
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The adoption of vannamei shrimp
The adoption of vannamei shrimp, a high-yielding and disease-resistant variety, by Indian farmers since 2009. Vannamei shrimp has become the dominant species in Indian aquaculture, accounting for about 90% of the total shrimp production.
The expansion of shrimp farming area and intensification of production systems
The expansion of shrimp farming area and intensification of production systems, especially in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. The total shrimp farming area in India is estimated at 1.92 lakh hectares, with an average productivity of 3.41 MT per hectare.
The improvement of quality standards and traceability systems in the shrimp value chain
The improvement of quality standards and traceability systems in the shrimp value chain, which have enhanced the competitiveness and reputation of Indian shrimp in the international market. India has implemented several measures to comply with the sanitary and phytosanitary requirements of its major export destinations, such as the USA, China, EU and Japan.
The diversification of export markets and product portfolio
The diversification of export markets and product portfolio, which have reduced the dependence on a single market and increased the value addition of Indian shrimp. India has expanded its presence in emerging markets like China, South East Asia and the Middle East, while also developing niche products like black tiger shrimp, surimi, frozen octopus and canned products .
Challenges and Opportunities for Indian Shrimp Export
Despite the impressive performance of Indian shrimp export, there are still some challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed to sustain and enhance its growth. Some of these are:
The threat of diseases and climate change
The threat of diseases and climate change, which can affect the health and productivity of shrimp farms. India needs to invest more in research and development, biosecurity, disease surveillance and early warning systems to prevent and control major diseases like white spot syndrome virus (WSSV), enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP) and acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND).
The need to upgrade and adopt latest processing technology
The need to upgrade and adopt latest processing technology to develop and market value added shrimp products that can fetch higher prices and meet the changing consumer preferences. India needs to explore new product categories like ready-to-eat, ready-to-cook, organic, antibiotic-free and eco-labelled shrimp products.
The impact of trade policies and market dynamics
The impact of trade policies and market dynamics, which can affect the demand and supply of shrimp in the global market. India needs to monitor and respond to the trade measures imposed by its major export destinations, such as anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties, tariffs and non-tariff barriers. India also needs to cope with the competition from other major shrimp producing countries like China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Ecuador.
The potential to increase domestic consumption of shrimp
The potential to increase domestic consumption of shrimp, which can create a stable and lucrative market for Indian shrimp producers and processors. India has a large population with a growing middle class and disposable income, which can drive the demand for seafood products like shrimp. India needs to promote awareness and consumption of shrimp among its domestic consumers through branding, marketing, quality assurance and product innovation.
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