Domestic market – the only way out for Indian shrimp farming

Commercial shrimp farming in India is about four decades old but it’s only over the last five years, the shrimp farming industry of India has transformed from a modified extensive shrimp farming system to a capital oriented semi-intensive and intensive farming system.
Till 2009 annual shrimp production from farming sector was approx. 80,000 tons, highest being 124 000 tons in the year 2004. Indian black tiger shrimp remained center of attraction in the international market and commanded respectful place.

On the onset of L. vannamei, the exotic pacific white shrimp on global scenario has changed the facet of shrimp farming, within a short span of 5 years the world shrimp basket from 2 million tons has filled up to almost 4 million tons production. The world shrimp basket has a maximum capacity to support 4.5 million tons, anything nearing will lower the demand and ultimately affect the farm gate price.
Since official entry of L. vannamei in the year 2009, the Indian shrimp farming production has increased four folds. Within 4 years shrimp production rise to 3.5 lac tons from 80 000 tons. Sluggish domestic demand and falling international prices is a cause of worry for the Indian shrimp farmer’s fraternity. Indian shrimp industry is completely dependent upon exports that too is for two seasons in a year. While higher domestic consumption in many other producing Asian countries like China, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, has supported shrimp farmers with fair market price. The rapid expansion of shrimp farming in India, however, is a subject of concern.
To support the highly promising shrimp farming sector, we need strong association like National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), which has greatly changed the face of Indian poultry industry with its famous campaign “Sunday Ho Ya Monday Roz Khao Ande”. Today cent percent poultry produced is consumed in the country itself whereas, the scenario in shrimp farming is completely reverse. Present shrimp production scenario has reached an alarming stage and hence need immediate government support to make it more sustainable. The need of the hour for the shrimp farming fraternity is to focus on better marketing practices to promote domestic consumption and spread awareness about it’s health benefits.
The promoting agencies like National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) with farmers’ association can really make the difference.
The shrimp-farming sector holds the potential to generate the best from wasteland and improve the livelihoods of people by providing employment opportunity to millions. The aquaculture sector can help to feed the expanding global population and be a suitable answer to “Who will feed the world beyond 2050”.
Dr. Manoj Sharma, Mayank Aquaculture Pvt. Ltd.