Starvation strikes India’s shrimp farms [Not all of ‘em!]

Delays in clearance of incoming feeds at India’s ports could negatively affect India’s shrimp exports. And the problem could balloon into a threat for all of India's shrimp farms.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

Delays in clearance of incoming artemia cyst larval feeds (due to technical issues) at India’s ports may negatively affect India’s shrimp production and exports. During FY2015, India imported nearly Rs.200 crore worth of these cysts that are hatched in India to produce young ones that are thereafter fed to shrimp larvae in shrimp breeding farms across the country. At present, hatcheries that are spread across the East Godavari and the rest of Andhra Pradesh are reported as being worst hit by the shortage in supply-through-import mode. Over 97% of the feed comes from five prime supplying nations, i.e. Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, US and Indonesia. Thankfully, delay issues at India’s ports in the east coast have currently only affected supplies from USA, which accounts for just under 5% of the total supply of the said feed. Worries will multiply for India’s shrimp hatcheries if consignments from other markets get netted too. In general, shrimp hatcheries in India use a tonne of artemia cysts to produce 200 million post larvae of marine shrimps. Speculations are rife that the risk of pathogens associated with artemia cysts derived from the Great Salt Lakes of USA is making clearance authorities in India go slower on these consignments. But the real reason for the trouble is this – the health certificate issued for artemia cysts (by the United States Department of Agriculture, California) is different in format than that acceptable to Indian authorities! So in the name of paperwork, there is no doubt that Indian port clearance authorities have put to risk the immediate future of India’s shrimp farming. Question is – how much of it? Looked from another perspective, artemia from US in trouble is both good and bad news. Bad because it means shortage of food for one of India’s prime marine product culture and exports. Good because as long as the finger is raised only on feed originating in US, atleast all of India’s shrimp farms won’t be struck down with starvation issues. What value we are referring to here? Considering that shrimps fall directly under five 6-digit HS codes (030616, 030617, 030626, 160521 and 160529), we are talking about a fear of starving Rs.22,430 crore worth of India’s exports! For now though, the damage being done is to a shrimp population much less that value.    

June 03 | 7:18 am IST.