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MPEDA conference on seafood eyes G-20 countries
Image Credit: UNI

MPEDA conference on seafood eyes G-20 countries

| @indiablooms | 12 Feb 2023, 08:23 pm

Kochi/UNI: Seeking to make deeper inroads in the seafood market of Europe, the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) will hold a conference on the harmonisation of regulations for seafood among G-20 countries in July this year.

“A major objective of the conference is to make various stakeholders in India’s seafood industry aware of trade regulations and export prospects in the European countries, which are the third largest importer of our marine products,” said MPEDA Chairman DV Swamy.

Further, MPEDA will hold a Shrimp Conference to bring together stakeholders in the shrimp value chain from the G-20 countries this year.

A ‘Fish Food Festival’ will also be organised in New Delhi, inviting Ambassadors from the top 20 markets of marine products, including G20 countries in the current year.

“We want to ramp up our presence in European markets by meeting the stringent international quality control protocols, offering product diversification through value addition and ensuring the competitiveness of India’s marine products,” Mr Swamy said.

India has the most significant number of European Union (EU)-approved processing units adopting state-of-the-art technology in seafood processing, making the country an attractive market for machinery manufacturers, suppliers and certification bodies. The EU is sending raw materials to India to process marine products significantly.

The number of seafood processing units in India increased from 133 in 1975 to 604 in 2022, with 1,275 registered exporters. The processing capacity rose from 614 MT to 35,402 MT during this period.

“It has become imperative, especially in the post-pandemic era, to strengthen the brand, quality and competitiveness of Indian seafood and minimise rejections of shipments,” he said, adding: “We are now equipped with various sustainable, bio-secure and eco-friendly aquaculture technologies for seed production and grow-out farming of various aquatic species with high export potential.”

To ensure that India’s shrimp consignments are free from any pathogens, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA), a research unit of MPEDA, has set up a central quarantine facility for the first time in the country in Chennai to check the imported brood stock of L Vannamei shrimps. It is also setting up a Broodstock Multiplication Centre (BMC) of Tiger variety shrimp, developed from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in Visakhapatnam.

MPEDA has launched a system validating EU catch and ICCAT (The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) certificates, besides opening many ELISA labs for pre-harvest testing that would provide sustainable and quality seafood.

As part of its plans to boost European exports, MPEDA has also decided to hold an ‘International Buyer Seller Meet’ with particular emphasis on G20 countries during the February 15-17 India International Seafood Show (IISS) in Kolkata. A special technical session on G20 countries also will be organised parallel to the conclave.

Countries like Ecuador and Vietnam have signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the EU. If India signs similar FTAs with the EU as it did with Australia (IAECTA), it will significantly boost shrimp exports and other marine products through relief from customs duty.

During 2021-22, India exported 13,69,264 tons of marine products worth USD 7.76 billion (Rs 575.86 billion), registering an all-time high export by value. The CAGR of the country for the last decade is 8.26 per cent in value USD terms.

Shrimp production crossed one million MT, accounting for around a 21 per cent share of the global shrimp trade. Frozen shrimp remained the major export item in quantity and value, accounting for a share of 53 per cent in quantity and 75 per cent of the total revenue.

USA was the largest market, with a 43.45 per cent share in dollar terms, followed by China (15.14 per cent), Europe (14.98 per cent) and South East Asia (10.04 per cent).

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