Over Rs 3.5K cr seafood exported in 2020-21
KOLKATA: Bengal exported 88443 tonnes of seafood worth Rs 3595.12 crore during the financial year 2020-21 with more than 81 per cent of the total revenue amounting to Rs 2928.16 crore being garnered through the export of frozen shrimps. The state exported 52499 tonnes of shrimp in 2020-21 fiscal.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the sluggish seafood market resulted in a slight dip in revenue this year though the export quantity has been higher this year. In 2019-20, Bengal had exported 98626 tonnes that fetched Rs 3910.95 crore.
USA, China and the European Union (EU) were the leading importers, USA imported 15129 tonnes of seafood worth Rs 959.82 crore, China imported 17419 tonnes worth Rs 682.20 while EU procured 12779 tonnes by spending Rs 616.05 crore. The other countries that imported are China, South East Asia and the Middle East.
Bengal accounts for 12 per cent of the sea food export from India and more than 70 per cent are prawn varieties whose cultivation is done exhaustively in three districts -North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas and East Midnapore. About 80 to 85 per cent of prawns cultivated in the state is exported and around 15 per cent is used for domestic customers.
Shrimp accounts for 70 per cent export while the other fishes that are exported are other prawn varieties, pomfret, octopus and some other sea fishes.
The country exported 11,49,341 MT of marine products worth Rs 43,717.26 crore during FY 2020-21 and registered a contraction of 10.88 per cent in volume as compared to a year earlier. The other maritime states that export seafood are Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Odisha , Maharashtra , Gujarat etc.
"Besides the pandemic impact, several other factors negatively impacted seafood exports during 2020-21. On the production side, there were reduced fish landings due to less number of fishing days, slow logistic movements and market uncertainties. Scarcity of workers in fishing and processing plants, paucity of containers at seaports, increased air freight charges and limited flight availability affected exports, especially of high-value chilled and live products," K S Srinivas, Chairman of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) said.
A senior MPEDA official said though the pandemic drastically affected seafood exports during the first half of the year, it revived well in the last quarter of 2020-21. "The aquaculture sector performed better during this fiscal by contributing 67.99 per cent of exported items in dollar terms and 46.45 per cent in quantity, which is 4.41 per cent and 2.48 per cent higher, respectively when compared to 2019-20," he added.