India’s Seafood Industry May See Sluggish Exports in 2020 Amid Covid-19

06 May 2020
India Export Data of Seafood

India’s seafood industry is also washing away from the impact of the deadly & rapidly spreading Coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic. With several European countries and China curbing seafood imports from coastal states of the country over the disease, Indian exporters of seafood have been hit. As March being the end of financial year, the industry experts fear the loss could touch Rs 200 crore.


The seafood from India has a major market in Japan, China, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Southeastern Asian countries. As the consumption of sea foods has declined in coronavirus affected countries, the United States, Japan and China have discontinued imports from India.


During Chinese New Year holidays, seafood industry was largely unaffected because of the small size of the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. But now, the picture is completely different as the virus has spread into other cities of China and countries including the United States. China is a leading buyer of live crabs and block frozen shrimp from India.


The seafood commodities have limited shelf life and with the shipping activity nearly came to a standstill in February, the traders whose stocks were stuck in ports, are at a loss too. According to India export data, Indian seafood exports to China touched $1 billion last year, increasing by 42% compared to 2018 ($ 700 million). Seafood exports to China during April-December 2019 stood at 2,42,218 tonnes as against 1,65,950 tonnes in the same period in 2018.


Not only exports, the stocking of shrimps have also been affected owing to the prevailing situation. Usually stocking is done in early March as harvesting season starts from May. According to Export Genius global trade data, seafood worth Rs 3,000 crore was shipped in 2018-19. The industry was expecting at least 10% growth this fiscal. However, according to industry experts, this is unlikely due to coronavirus spread in India and other global countries.


India’s Exports of Seafood Varieties in 2018


In 2018, seafood exports from India to the world valued US$ 6.3 billion, a little down from the previous year. Seafood commodities come under Chapter 03 of Harmonized System. The varieties of seafood include fish, shrimp, crab and so on. Have a look at seafood varieties export from India under 4-digit level HS Code with their values recorded in 2018.

 

HS Code

Product Description

 Value US$ Million

0306

Crustaceans

4,469

0307

Molluscs

766

0303

Frozen Fish

700

0304

Fish Fillets

269

0305

Fish, fit for human consumption

92

0302

Fish, fresh or chilled

47

0308

Aquatic Invertebrates

2

0301

Live Fish

1

 


Major Export Destinations of India’s Seafood in 2018


Major export destinations of India’s seafood are United States, Vietnam, China, Japan and Thailand. The seafood trade with the U.S., China, Vietnam, Japan and European nations has been severely affected due to coronavirus pandemic. Looking at the past, India’s seafood exports to the United States valued US$ 2,003 million in 2018, which shared 31.6% value to total exports. See chart and table below to analyze India seafood exports to top countries.

Country

Value US$ Million

Value US$ %

United States

2,003

31.6

Vietnam

1,173

18.5

China

565

8.9

Japan

409

6.5

Thailand

319

5.0

United Arab Emirates

188

3.0

Spain

166

2.6

Italy

150

2.4

United Kingdom

128

2.0

Belgium

115

1.8



Coronavirus is still on the spread, which has gripped more than 150 countries, targeting China, United States, Italy, France, Spain and Iran the most. India is also completely lockdown due to rising cases and death of Covid-19 pandemic. Lakhs of people worldwide are affected with the coronavirus and industries have disrupted. Now we have wait & watch that when this virus will get eradicated and lives of people will come on track. Then only, a clear picture of industries including seafood in India will come in front of us.

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