India emerges a strong player in the global seafood exports

India’s seafood exports have seen substantial growth over the past decade, establishing the country as a major player in the global seafood market. The USA, China, the European Union, Southeast Asia, and Japan are the primary destinations for Indian seafood. This strategic market penetration has created a steady demand for Indian seafood products.
July 06, 2024 | 08:00

India exports a wide variety of seafood items that meet various market demands, making its seafood export portfolio diverse. In 2023–24, frozen prawns emerged as the most popular item, contributing a substantial 66% of the total seafood exports; continuously ranked as the top sea food export because of its strong demand in US, EU and China.

Apart from frozen shrimp, India exports a variety of other seafood products, including frozen fish, shrimp, frozen octopus, canned products, and frozen lobster. Frozen fish, which accounted for 21% of the total quantity and 8.5% of the total export of seafood exports, saw a substantial increase of 62% in exports volume. This diversification allows India to mitigate risks associated with dependency on a single product and enhances its capability to meet the diverse needs of international markets. India with diverse nature of exports maintains its competitiveness and resilience in the face of changing global market preferences.

India’s seafood is recognized for its superior quality, which is attributable to strict quality control procedures and conformity to global guidelines. Furthermore, the adoption of sustainable fishing practices is growing, which benefits India's reputation as a conscientious exporter while also aiding in the preservation of marine habitats.

India's seafood industry has successfully penetrated key international markets. The USA, China, the European Union, Southeast Asia, and Japan are the primary destinations for Indian seafood. This strategic market penetration has been crucial for the industry's growth, ensuring a steady demand for Indian seafood products.

Over the last decade, India’s seafood exports have grown remarkably, reflecting the sector’s resilience and adaptability. India’s seafood exports increased from USD 5 billion in 2013-14 to USD 7.4 billion in 2023-24. This growth trajectory has been driven by the consistent increase in the production and export of high-demand products like frozen shrimp and fish.

Despite the global headwinds and market fluctuations, India's seafood industry has demonstrated a robust capacity to adapt and thrive. The volume of exports increased from 1,149,510 MT in 2020-21 to 1,781,602 MT in 2023-24. This period also saw an increase in value terms from USD 6 billion in 2020-21 to USD 7.4 billion in 2023-24.

India’s seafood exports

India emerges a strong player in the global seafood exports

The United States remains the largest importer of Indian seafood, with imports valued at approximately USD 2.55 billion, representing 34.5% of the total seafood exports of India. Following the US, China is a significant market for Indian seafood, followed by Japan. Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and Thailand, also show strong demand for various Indian seafood products. The European Union, including Belgium, is another key destination, importing a substantial volume of Indian seafood.

Several factors have contributed to this impressive growth trajectory. One of the primary drivers has been the significant investment in the fisheries sector by the Indian government. Schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) aimed to bring about a "Blue Revolution" through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector. With an investment of INR 20,050 crore, PMMSY has focused on enhancing infrastructure, ensuring sustainable practices, and increasing production and export capacities.

Additionally, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) with an allocation of INR 7,522 crore has provided much-needed financial support to modernize and expand the aquaculture infrastructure. This fund has enabled the establishment of state-of-the-art facilities for processing, storage, and transportation, ensuring that the quality of seafood remains uncompromised from catch to market.

The share of seafood exports in India's total merchandise exports has shown notable growth. In 2013-14, seafood exports formed a smaller fraction of the overall export economy. However, by 2023-24, this share had increased significantly, highlighting the growing importance of the seafood sector. This trend underscores the sector's growing contribution to the country’s economy and its potential for further expansion.

India has cemented its position as one of the leading global exporters of seafood. The country’s seafood exports reflect its strong standing in the international market. The United States and China are the largest importers of Indian seafood, with significant quantities also being exported to the European Union, Southeast Asia, and Japan.

Among South Asian and Asian countries, India stands out for its substantial seafood export volume and value. While countries like Vietnam and Thailand are also major exporters, India's consistent focus on quality, market diversification, and strategic market penetration provides a competitive edge to India’s seafood exports. India's efforts to explore and establish a presence in emerging markets underscore its strategic approach to maintaining and growing its market share in the competitive Asian seafood export industry.

In conclusions, over the past decade, India's seafood export industry has demonstrated significant growth and adaptability, establishing the country as a key player in the global seafood market. The strategic emphasis on quality, sustainability, and market diversification has driven this impressive expansion. Government initiatives have laid the foundation for continued progress. These efforts have not only boosted production but have also ensured adherence to international quality standards, enhancing India's competitiveness at the global stage.

As India looks to the future, maintaining a focus on innovation, quality, and sustainability will be crucial for sustaining the growth trajectory. The lessons learned and the strategies implemented over the past decade offer valuable futuristic insights. Going ahead, India hold every potential to solidify its position as a leading exporter in the global seafood market and contribute significantly to the global food supply chains.

Tarah Nguyen
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