Shrimp farms stare at loss due to disruption in supply chain

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Tuesday, 30 June 2020 09:12

INDIA: Hundreds of shrimp farms in Nagapattinam

district are staring at substantial losses due to the uncertainties in the export market caused by COVID-19 lockdown.

Despite the fact that frozen farmed shrimp accounts for close to 70% of the total earnings of around US$ 6,148,520 of seafood export for the country, the shrimp farms in the district are still reeling under the impact of the disruption caused to the supply chain due to the lockdown.

However, some signs of the shrimp farms resuming activities on a gradual scale are visible, according to senior officials. “The chances for fish farms to suffer extensive losses are low since they get the costly feed on credit in lieu of procurement rights. There is still unmet demand for export of shrimps to China and other countries,” Joint Director of Fisheries, Nagapattinam, said.

Aquaculture is being carried out in about 2,000 hectares in the district. Shrimps are cultured for a duration of 120 to 150 days until they gain good weight. For achieving a production level of four to five tonnes per hectare, the farms are required to use seven to eight tonnes of feed, which costs around US$ 0.95 per kilogram. In most cases, the companies that provide the feed on credit procure the produce, he said. The shrimps fetch the highest price of US$ 5.29 upwards per kilogram in the local market when each weigh 33 grams. One kilogram must contain 33 shrimps. The selling price gets lower correspondingly with the lesser growth, a manager of a shrimp farm explained.

The main fear is that prolonged dullness in the export market would force them to scale down production. Unlike in the case of fish, which have to be sold or processed within a limited time, the shrimp growers have the flexibility of planning their harvest schedule. The lockdown has indeed caused an impact.

Nevertheless, there is considerable scope for cutting down losses owing to the flexibility factor, officials explain.


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