Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu today said India is the 7th largest exporter of sea-food behind China, Norway, Vietnam, Thailand, United States and Chile. He also said, “Our export basket size is almost 1/4th of China”.
Inaugurating 20th India International Seafood Show 2016 here on Friday, Venkaiah Naidu said a bright future lies ahead for the country’s seafood industry and marine product exports are likely to go up by 20 per cent during the current year with recent initiatives taken up by the government, particularly in aquaculture diversification, quality control, value addition and improved production infrastructure, he said.
Now Vizag prominently figures on global map and getting good attention from global players that is evident from the response for this Seafood show, with participation from countries that include the USA, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Vietnam, The Netherlands, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Germany and China, the Union Minister said.
“The Indian Seafood Industry is almost 50 year old in its organized form and today we are exporting seafood to over 100 countries, including USA, Japan, EU, China, South East Asia and West Asian countries. The major items are frozen shrimp, frozen fish, cuttlefish, squid and so on. There are dried, live and chilled items as well”, he added.
International and domestic exhibitors have showcased their products and services to a potential global market and to explore leads and partnerships. Of the 290 stalls at the exhibition, more than 70 are from foreign companies. Venkaiah Naidu said according to the available statistics of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), one million tons of marine products exports from India, was fetching a foreign exchange of USD 5.5 billion in 2014-15.
The Union minister complimented the Union Ministry of Commerce, MPEDA and Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) for organizing the three-day event, which is a major platform for business interaction in the field of Aquaculture and will pave the way for foreign direct investment in India and contribute significantly to the ‘Make in India’ program.
Export incentives for marine products: Nirmala
Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitaraman announced a raft of measures, including setting up of agencies for aquaculture and fisheries in all coastal States. She also announced export incentives for marine products under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS). Under the MEIS, the government currently allocates Rs 22,000 crore annually for exports. From this financial year onwards, an additional Rs 1500 crore will be allocated under the scheme that will include certain marine and seafood items. The agencies for aquaculture and fisheries, under the guidance of the chief ministers and headed by their chief secretaries, will be under the aegis of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA). The nodal body for marine exports will work under the Union ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Voicing concern, she said that despite being a major producer, India’s seafood industry has a long way to go in fully tapping the potential for value addition. Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman said that she held discussions with trade ministers from Japan and South Korea recently and they have expressed interest in collaborating with India for development of aquaculture. The union minister hoped that the MPEDA would play a key role in bringing in the best practices from around the globe to accelerate the growth of the seafood industry in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said the State accounted for over 45 per cent of India’s cultured shrimp exports during 2015-16.
MPEDA Chairman A Jayathilak, Visakhapatnam MP K Haribabu and others attended the event. (NSS)