Union Minister of State for Commerce & Industry Anupriya Patel inaugurates IISS 2023
Kolkata: India is aiming to double its income from seafood exports to 14 billion US dollars by 2025 amid a sustained annual growth of three per cent in the sector, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Smt. Anupriya Patel said today.
The country exported 1.36 million MT of seafood during 2021-22, earning an all-time record of $7.76 billion. “In two years from now, we plan to achieve a target of 14 billion dollars,” she said after inaugurating the 23rd edition of India International Seafood Show (IISS) in the city.
Noting that India is already among the world’s top five seafood-exporting countries, the minister said 17 per cent of the country’s agricultural exports comprises fish and allied products. “We are the world’s third-largest fish producer, second-largest aquaculture producer and fourth-largest seafood exporter,” she pointed out at the start of the three-day event being organised by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in association with the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).
The biennial showpiece event in the marine sector is being held amid the government’s vigorous attempt to regain buoyancy in seafood exports in the post-pandemic phase, offering a robust platform to various industry stakeholders for inking business deals, forging new contacts, leveraging market linkages, and introducing new technologies and products to the global market.
While noting duty concessions on the import of vital shrimp/fish feed ingredients announced in the Union Budget 2023-24, she highlighted the government’s measures towards protection of the interest of the country’s aqua farmers and the sector as a whole. “We slashed the import duty from 15 per cent to 5 per cent for fish meal/krill meal and vitamin premixes, whereas the duty has been halved to 15 per cent for fish lipid oil and algal prime,” she said, reiterating a “remarkable impact” on the earnings of aqua famers in terms of savings on the total cost.
As for RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products), the minister said the flagship export promotion scheme has effected a favourable revision in both its rate and cap for a majority of the exportable fishery products. The government has enhanced the RoDTEP rate and cap for frozen shrimp, which is the country’s principal foreign exchange earner, to 3.1 per cent from 2.5 and Rs 42 from Rs 16, respectively.
Reiterating how the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) plays a vital role in bringing about the “Blue Revolution” through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector in India, she said the 2020-introduced scheme, with an investment of Rs 20,050 crore, will increase the country’s marine production capacity, productivity, intensification, diversification, productive utilization of area under cultivation and exports.
The government will hold a special session as part of the series of ongoing events in connection with the G-20 Presidency of India.
“MPEDA will also hold a conference on the harmonisation of regulations for seafood among G-20 countries in Delhi in the second half of this year,” she informed. The national capital will host a ‘Fish Food Festival’ too, inviting ambassadors from the top 20 markets (including G20 countries) of marine products in the current year.
Further, MPEDA will hold a ‘Shrimp Conference’ to bring together stakeholders in the pertinent value chain in the country’s seafood industry and make them aware of trade regulations and export prospects.
To ensure that India’s shrimp consignments are free from any pathogens, MPEDA’s research unit RGCA (Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture) 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 in Visakhapatnam a Broodstock Multiplication Centre of Tiger shrimps, developed from its facility at Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
State Minister of Panchayat and Rural Development Shri Pradip Mazumdar said the state produces 1.96 lakh metric tonnes of seafood when its annual requirement is 19.2 lakh MT. “We need to plug this gap,” he said, hoping that IISS 2023 will encourage the stakeholders in the sector and prompt them to choose West Bengal as a favourite destination.
West Bengal Minister of State for Fisheries Shri Biplab Roy Chowdhury said a flurry of buyer-seller meets at the three-day event will boost the marine seafood sector, much to the benefit of the country’s eastern coast.
Mr Rajesh Agrawal IAS, who is Additional Secretary to the Union Department of Commerce, said India should strive to double its contribution to 10 per cent of the world’s marine seafood basket in a decade’s time. “Such a vision can generate millions of jobs, raising the livelihood standards of the country’s aqua farmers,” he added.
SEAI National President Mr Jagadish Fofandi called upon the government to speed up India’s moves for free trade agreements with countries of the European Union and the UK, besides strengthening commercial ties with “friendly” countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia. Also, “minimal” control and regulations in procedures can add to Ease of Doing Business, he said.
Welcoming the gathering, MPEDA Chairman Mr Dodda Venkata Swamy highlighted the “crucial role” of the states in the growth of India’s seafood sector. SEAI President (West Bengal region) Mr Rajarshi Banerji proposed thanks.
IISS 2023 is hosting an international buyer-seller meet with emphasis on G20 countries. A technical session on developments in the seafood industry and a special technical session on G20 countries are also being arranged parallel to the event. Manufacturers and suppliers are displaying and securing business deals for their processing machinery, packaging systems, processing ingredients, and cold chain systems.
The event has more than 350 stalls spread over 7,000 sqm, showcasing a wide range of products based on automated and IT-aided technology and energy-efficient systems for value addition. More than 5,000 delegates from India and abroad are participating.