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Sea food exports decline
Our Corporate Bureau
10 August 2004

Kochi: Sea food exports from the country declined during this fiscal according to Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPDEA) .Fiscal 2003-04 turned out to be a lacklustre year for the domestic seafood industry as the exports declined by 11.83 per cent in quantity and 11.47 per cent in value terms from the previous year.

During 2003-04, seafood exports touched $1.33 billion as against $1.42 billion in 2002-03, while the quantity dropped to 412,000 tonnes from 467,000 tonnes in the same period.

Stung by the imposition of anti-dumping duty by the US on all imports, India's multibillion-dollar seafood industry is now hoping that the government would unveil a favourable export-import (Exim) policy.

The industry hopes that rules would be relaxed in the Exim policy, likely to be unveiled this month, for allowing import of seafood products into India for value-addition and then for re-export.

"In the wake of the anti-dumping duty imposed on all seafood exports to the US, we are now diverting our attention to make India a processing hub," said Abraham Tharakan, president of the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI).

He said that the seafood industry currently faces a slew of procedural problems and the processing of papers is too cumbersome. "We hope that at least this time the central government would be more considerate to us because our proposal for this has been lying with them for almost two years now.

There is tremendous scope in this sector," he said. "Once the present rules of import of seafood are changed, European fishing liners could come directly to any port in India with their catch which could be transferred to any of the seafood processing factories."

India has more than 200 seafood-processing factories of international standards and all these plants operate at just 15 per cent of their capacity.

"Kerala has the highest number with more than 40 per cent of the factories, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat," said Tharakan.

"Our peak season is limited to just four months after the monsoon and after that most factories remain idle. Moreover, we have the required labour force also for processing," he added.

send this article to a friend "I am certain that this industry will not have to look anywhere else if there is a favourable Exim policy. As always, we are keeping our fingers crossed," said Tharakan.

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Sea food exports decline